The Blackhawks are considering a trade involving veteran defenseman Duncan Keith, according to a report Wednesday.
Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman tweeted the Hawks are looking to deal Keith, who has a no-movement clause in his contract that allows him to control or veto any trade, to a team in the ‘‘Pacific Northwest or Western Canada.’’
‘‘Word is Keith and team are working together to get him to a place he wants to go,’’ Friedman said. ‘‘We will see where this goes.’’
There are rumblings Chicago is working on a potential Duncan Keith trade to either the Pacific Northwest or Western Canada. Word is Keith and team are working together to get him to a place he wants to go. We will see where this goes.— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) June 30, 2021
Keith, who will turn 38 on July 16, has spent his entire NHL career with the Hawks, establishing himself as a core defenseman even before the Stanley Cup era.
But age has taken a toll on his performance in recent seasons, even though he has continued to play big minutes and mentor young defensemen such as Ian Mitchell and Adam Boqvist.
A trade — never previously considered possible because Keith never wanted to leave Chicago — would make sense for several reasons.
Keith grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and lives in the offseason in Penticton, British Columbia. His now-8-year-old son stayed in Penticton — along with much of the rest of Keith’s family — this season after Keith helped coach his youth team last fall.
As his career winds down, Keith might want to play closer to home. The Canucks, Oilers, Flames, Jets and expansion Kraken are all possibilities.
From the Hawks’ standpoint, trading Keith would open a protection spot for the Kraken expansion draft, allowing the Hawks to protect Connor Murphy, Nikita Zadorov and Riley Stillman instead of Murphy and one of the others.
A trade also would remove Keith’s roughly $5.5 million cap hit (with two years left on his deal), freeing more space to pursue Seth Jones or Dougie Hamilton this summer.