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Thoughts on the Duncan Keith trade?

July 13, 2021, 9:48 AM ET [114 Comments]
HockeyBuzz Hotstove
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In this edition of the hotstove, we share our thoughts on the trade that sent Duncan Keith to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Caleb Jones and a 3rd round pick.

Todd Cordell

I think this trade is horrendous for the Edmonton Oilers on so many levels.

For one, Duncan Keith is washed. Completely washed. He hasn’t posted a positive GAR (Goals Above Replacement) since 2018-19. He was at -1.0 in 2019-20, and an astronomically low -7.7 this past season.

Betting on a soon-to-be 38-year-old to turn that around seems overly optimistic, to say the least.

But, for fun, let’s say he finds his footing a little bit and is an OK No. 4 defenseman next year and a No. 5 in 2022-23. I’m skeptical, but we’ll assume he has a bit of gas in the tank.

Is an OK No. 4/5 defenseman worth $5.5 million per season? Absolutely not. And you’re trading positive assets (a young NHL depth defender and a 3rd round pick) for the luxury of drastically overpaying said defenseman.

I don’t mean to rip Keith apart. He was once a truly fantastic player. At this point in his career, though, he is limited. And it’s as likely – or more likely! – he further declines as it is he takes his game up a notch.

Spending positive trade assets when a) there were next to no suitors/teams Keith would waive for and; b) Chicago *wants* out of Keith’s contract is flat-out absurd. Ken Holland makes, what, $5 million per season? You’d think he’d understand leverage. Apparently not!

Instead of waiting for Chicago to blink, or hanging up the phone and chasing better, younger, players in free agency, he traded assets so he could overpay a 38-year-old defender. It’s mind blowing to me.

A complete waste of cap space at a time where it’s more valuable than ever.

Sean Maloughney

The Oilers have traded Caleb Jones and a third round in exchange for Duncan Keith. With no salary retained it is absolutely horrendous and could be up there in awful trades as the Reinhart deal. Yes that bad. Once again the Oilers have given up on a budding young defenseman way too early and instead are going with "intangibles."

Keith's numbers have been horrible and declining over the past few seasons and his partners do better away from him, even the rookies. This is a bad bad bet by Ken Holland and a massive waste of the cap space that should be building this team to contend now.
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