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The Chicago Blackhawks are on the verge of moving on from one of the key pieces for their three championships since 2010, after defenseman Duncan Keith wants a move out West.
First reported by , Keith wants to play for a team in the Pacific Northwest of Western Canada next season and the team is trying to work out a deal that can send him there. And with a full no-movement clause on his current contract, the veteran defenseman holds all the power.
With that small sliver of information, the rumours ran through the hockey universe and predictions where the 37-year-old blueliner will end up. Keith has two years remaining on his deal that holds an annual cap hit of $5.38 million, making it slightly easier to assume where he’s going depending on the few geographical options and their financial situations.
On Friday, The Athletic's Rick Dhaliwal cleared the air and honed in on one team as a likely destination.
“Everyone that I have talked to thinks that Keith will most likely end up in Edmonton,” Dhaliwal said on CHEK TV’s Donnie and Dhali.
As Dhaliwal explains, Keith wants to go for another championship to add a fourth ring on his career and sees playing with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl as the most likely scenario of that happening.
As he approaches his 40s, Keith’s game has been declining for a few years now. Once known as an undeniable minute-muncher that can face top competition, Keith has seen his reputation dwindle as the Blackhawks have faded into mediocrity.
, Oilers colour commentator Bob Stauffer said that Chicago isn’t looking to retain any salary remaining on Keith’s contract and is looking for any package of players or picks for his services. While he might not be worth his salary or any future assets, adding a player with heaps and piles and mountains of experience can be valuable to a team that just got swept out of the first round despite having a unanimous Hart Trophy winner on their roster.
The Oilers have just over $16 million in cap space with just 19 players signed on their NHL roster. They certainly have the room, and GM Ken Holland has been known to do these gutsy veteran acquisitions in his past with the Detroit Red Wings.
Keith scored four goals and 15 points through 54 games last season, all while averaging over 23 minutes a night.
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