After 16 seasons with the Chicago Blackhawks, could Duncan Keith be about to join the NHL's newest franchise?
Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman tweeted the Blackhawks were working on a potential trade for Keith. The 37-year-old defenseman hopes to be moved to the Pacific Northwest or Western Canada to be closer to his son in Penticton, B.C. The Score's Josh Wegman included the Seattle Kraken among the possible destinations.
The Kraken could be the best fit for Keith. They're located relatively close to Penticton. With $81.5 million projected salary-cap space, they can afford to take on his $5.538-million annual cap hit for the next two seasons. His experience and leadership could be invaluable to the Kraken during their formative seasons.
Shedding Keith's contract would free up cap space for the Blackhawks to add a top-end defenseman like Columbus' Seth Jones or Carolina's Dougie Hamilton. Kraken GM Ron Francis could use that to his advantage, perhaps by persuading the Hawks to package Keith with a draft pick.
Patrick Johnston of The Province also suggested the Edmonton Oilers as a destination, pointing out they have the cap room to work with. However, The Edmonton Journal's David Staples thinks it would be a steep price to pay for an aging defenseman unless the Blackhawks took back a contract like James Neal's or Mikko Koskinen in the deal. He doesn't see the Hawks absorbing any of Keith's salary.
Johnston doesn't believe the Vancouver Canucks would be interested because of their limited cap space. He felt they're more interested in re-signing veteran rearguard Alex Edler. Cap room would also be an issue for the Calgary Flames. Keith was born in Winnipeg but the Jets are still a long way from Penticton.