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With retirement in question, Edmonton Oilers defenceman Duncan Keith “really liked it in Edmonton”

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Photo credit:Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
5 months ago
Duncan Keith’s inaugural season with the Edmonton Oilers is all wrapped up.
All things considered, he had a relatively good year and truly found his stride with the team once paired up with Evan Bouchard on the backend. Keith, 38, drew in for 64 games this past year with the Oilers scoring one goal and 21 points.
On Monday’s episode of the 32 Thoughts podcast, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman had this to say of what lies ahead for the veteran defenceman who is, at the very least, considering retirement:
“I’ve heard mixed things on this. I’ve heard Keith really liked it in Edmonton this year. Really the run, the two victories. I heard the organization really was thankful for the role he played with a lot of the younger players. I heard they realy liked having him around because of his attitude and because he’s a fitness freak. You see the way Keith prepares, you really have an understanding of what it takes.
I know the Oilers were really happy with him. I’ve had some people say to me he’ll be back, I’ve had some other people say they’re just not 100% sure. So they said just take ‘Duncan, take a couple of weeks and think about it.”
If Keith retires, it’s a huge cap break for the Oilers. It’s something they absolutely need, but as someone said to me, they would not be unhappy to have him back with the impact they felt around the orgnaizaiton. I think Keith is much more likely to return than (Mike) Smith is.”
If this is the end for Keith, what a career its been. He’s done about all there is for NHL players: three all-star teams, three Stanley Cup wins, two Norris Trophies and a Conn Smythe Trophy. On top of that, Keith has also won a WHL Championship and two Olympic Gold Medals.
A Keith retirement would open up $8.9-million in cap space for the Oilers next year: $5.5-million for his cap hit, and another $3.4-million due to a cap recapture credit.
Friedman has previously reported that the Oilers asked both Keith and Smith to decide upon their playing status for next year by July 1st.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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