As expected, the Chicago Blackhawks have traded veteran Duncan Keith to the Edmonton Oilers.
Keith, who turns 38 on July 16, waived the full no-movement clause in his contract in order to be closer to his son, Colton, in British Columbia's Okanagan Valley. Edmonton is a 75-minute flight from Kelowna.
Selected in the second round (No. 54 overall) of the 2002 NHL Draft, Keith has spent his entire career with the Blackhawks. He helped them win the Stanley Cup three times (2010, 2013, 2015) and was voted the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as MVP of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
He has twice won the Norris Trophy voted as the best defenseman in the NHL (2010, 2014) and was named one of the 100 Greatest NHL Players during the League's centennial celebration in 2017. Keith has scored 625 points (105 goals, 520 assists) in 1,192 regular-season games. He's added 86 points (18 goals, 68 assists) in 135 playoff games.
As for Duncan Keith, he deserves this chance to move on from the franchise he has played with his entire career to be closer to his son. He has earned the right to compete alongside two of the best players in the world in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The Oilers are hoping Keith's experience can help propel them past the first round of the playoffs.
In return, the Blackhawks receive 24-year-old defenseman in Caleb Jones. Jones has played in 93 NHL games but has yet to play a full season. Drafted 117th overall in 2015, he has spent the majority of his three-year career in the AHL where he has amassed 57 points (11 goals, 46 assists) in 125 games.
Elite Prospects states of Jones;
A versatile two-way defenseman that can fill many different roles and team needs in certain situations due to his workmanlike approach to his position. Possesses a tireless motor and is aggressive on the blue-line. Physicality and board battles are the anchors that hold his game together. Works hard in all situations and is a step ahead in problem solving. Exhibits good mobility, a quick, accurate shot from the point, and an active stick. All-in-all, a heads-up defenseman who plays a solid, smart all-around game.
- Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects 2015
Salary Cap Implications
Chicago will not retain any of Keith's salary, meaning the Blackhawks shed his contract with two years remaining at annual average value of $5.5 million. Caleb Jones is on the final year of his two-year deal with a cap hit of $850K.
This move opens up money for the Blackhawks and allows for more creativity by Stan Bowman and company as as the Seattle expansion draft looms just nine days away.