Keith, who turns 38 on Friday, has two more seasons on a 13-year, $ 72 million contract (average annual value of $ 5.5 million) he signed on December 3, 2009.
Three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Blackhawks (2010, 2013 and 2015), Keith won the 2015 Conn Smythe Trophy, voted Stanley Cup Playoff MVP. He also won the Norris Trophy, voted best defenseman in the NHL in 2010 and 2014, was named twice to the NHL’s first all-star team (also in 2010 and 2014) and helped Canada win the gold medal at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics and Sochi 2014 Olympics.
“I think a lot is being said about my age and obviously I’ve had some playoff experience, and I definitely want to bring as much as possible to the table in that regard and help the younger ones. in every way possible, ”Keith said. “But for me, my mindset going to Edmonton is to be the best player I can be because that’s what’s going to help the team the most, that’s what I do on the ice, and I am excited for the opportunity and the challenge that is before me here. I want to bring a strong work ethic and I think it all starts from there.
Keith was named one of the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players during the NHL Centennial Season in 2017.
“Duncan Keith was the quintessential pro with the Chicago Blackhawks,” said Chicago general manager Stan Bowman. “His tenacity on the ice, his leadership in the community and his dedication to the game are just some of the reasons the Blackhawks have won three Stanley Cups in his 16-year career with Chicago. He will remain one of the best and most motivated defenders this game has ever seen. Recently Duncan came to us with a request to be traded to a team closer to his son, and we were happy to find something that was mutually beneficial for Duncan’s family and the future of the Blackhawks. We appreciate everything he brought to our team and to the City of Chicago and his legacy will always be celebrated. “
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This season, Keith has scored 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) in 54 games for the Blackhawks (24-25-7), who finished sixth in the eight-team Discover Central division and failed to qualify. for the playoffs for the third time. in four seasons.
Selected by Chicago in the second round (54th overall) of the 2002 NHL Draft, Keith scored 625 points (105 goals, 520 assists) in 1,192 regular season games and 86 points (18 goals, 68 assists) in 135 games playoffs. . He is second in Blackhawks history in games, sixth in assists and 10th in points.
“I would like to thank the Chicago Blackhawks and the Blackhawks organization, Rocky Wirtz, Danny Wirtz and the entire Wirtz family for allowing me to be a part of their team for the past 16 seasons,” said Keith. “We had great memories and a great race and the Chicago Blackhawks will always be in my heart.
“Having said that, at this point in my career, I feel like being closer to my son, Colton, here, he lives here in Penticton (BC), was a huge thing for me. , and I just felt like the Edmonton Oilers, right now, was a good fit, a perfect fit, and I’m excited to start this new chapter of my career and try to win a Cup in Edmonton. “
The Oilers (35-19-2) finished second in the Scotia North Division with seven teams this season, but were swept away by the Winnipeg Jets in the Stanley Cup first round, losing the last three games of the seven-team series. better in overtime. . They signed Ryan Nugent Hopkins, who could have become an unrestricted free agent on July 28, to an eight-year, $ 41 million contract (average annual value of $ 5.125 million) on June 29.
Edmonton has the last two Hart Trophy winners elected as the NHL’s MVP, the forwards Connor McDavid (this season) and Leon Draisitl (2019-20); each won the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s champion in scoring this season MVP, McDavid with 105 points (33 goals, 72 assists) in 56 games and Draisaitl with 110 points (43 goals, 67 assists) in 71 games.
“Certainly when you look at the Oilers and you look at their team and their players, these guys are in the foreground so they have two of the best players in the world in Connor and Leon and they showed what they’re ‘capable of doing,’ Keith said. “So definitely having these guys on the team, you know, when you make the playoffs you need these elite players to be able to put the puck in the net in close games, and that’s definitely a good thing, and an added bonus. I look up and down this roster and see a lot of good players, a lot of efficient players that we will have to rely on throughout the season. Obviously the goalie is huge and then the defense and forwards work together to keep the puck out of your net. “
Edmonton has improved a bit defensively this season, allowing less than 3.00 goals per game (2.75, tied for 11th in the NHL) for the first time since 2016-17, but finished 21st in the NHL for goals against 5 on 5 (116) and shots on goal per game (30.7).
Oilers general manager Ken Holland has said he expects Keith to play on the left side of their second defensive pair, with Darnell Nurse remaining in that place on the best defense pair.
“We have a legitimate top four defenseman,” Holland said. “I know Duncan is very, very excited. I spoke to him a bit earlier after the deal was done, coach [Dave] Tippett has spoken to him as well, and we can both feel and sense that he is excited about this new opportunity. “
The draft pick Chicago receives will be in the third round unless Edmonton qualifies for the 2022 Stanley Cup Final and Keith places in the top four of the Oilers defensemen in time on the ice in the three. first rounds of the playoffs. If these conditions are met, he will become a second round pick.
Jones, a 24-year-old defenseman, has four assists in 33 games this season and has 19 points (five goals, 14 assists) in 93 NHL games, all for the Oilers. He has one season left on a two-year, $ 1.7 million (850,000 AAV) contract he signed with Edmonton on January 15, 2020, and is the brother of the Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman. Seth Jones.
“Caleb Jones is a versatile, fluid skating defenseman who brings a well-balanced game to the Blackhawks,” Bowman said. “Caleb makes a good transition from the puck with his legs or through passing passes. He brings a certain size to our squad, and we believe his best hockey is ahead of him. Although he is still young, we see his 93 games of NHL experience as an asset in helping our other young defensemen adjust to the NHL. “
Soderlund, a 23-year-old center, has split this season between his native Sweden and the United States. He has 16 points (10 goals, six assists) in 23 games for Almtuna IS of HockeyAllsvenskan, the second-tier professional league in Sweden, and has five assists in 23 games for Rockford of the American Hockey League.
Holland said Keith’s acquisition would not impact Edmonton’s attempt to re-sign the defenseman Adam Larsson, who can become a free agent without compensation on July 28.
“I have been in negotiations with Adam, I would like to re-sign Adam, I have money set aside for Adam,” he said. “In the end, it’s Adam’s decision. When players are unrestricted free agents, they have the right to determine where they want to play and for how much they want to play. [The Keith trade] has no impact because we have [NHL salary] stopper space available. “
Holland said he didn’t expect Oscar Klefbom play next season. The defenseman, who turns 28 on July 20, has not played this season due to a chronic shoulder injury that required surgery earlier this year.
NHL.com editors Tim Campbell and Tracy Myers contributed to this report