Duncan Keith retiring could really hurt the Chicago BlackhawksVincent Pariseon June 20, 2022 at 11:00 am

Of course, Duncan Keith is one of the greatest players to ever play for the Chicago Blackhawks. In fact, there is a case to be made that he is the best defenseman in franchise history. Not many people would argue with it. However, there is a chance that he could hurt his old team this offseason.

The Blackhawks traded Duncan Keith to the Edmonton Oilers last summer. He had a really nice year with his new club as they reached the Western Conference Finals before being eliminated by the Colorado Avalanche.

They are sure to be back in the mix next year as well and it would really help the Blackhawks out if Keith takes advantage of that. The Oilers have asked Duncan Keith to give them clarity on his future plans by July first. That will either be a notice of playing next year or retiring.

If he does choose to retire, the Blackhawks will have a cap recapture penalty for the next two seasons. There will be a 5.5 million dollar hit in 2022-23 and a 2 million dollar hit in 2023-24. That is less than ideal for a team looking to rebuild. Meanwhile, Edmonton will feel cap relief.

The Chicago Blackhawks will get a cap penalty if Duncan Keith retires.

If this happens, however, it won’t be the end of the world. The Blackhawks don’t have any aspirations of winning anything so having that cap hit go to no players won’t hurt them too badly. They will have to work around that extra cap hit which isn’t ideal during a rebuild.

The Edmonton Oilers would love to have Keith back. He was one of their top-four defensemen in 2021-22 and they made it all the way to the Western Conference Final. They would still probably love to make some upgrades to push everyone down a little bit but Keith has been solid.

He isn’t the Norris Trophy-winning defenseman that he was back in his prime but he can contribute some solid minutes to a contender. Continuing to share the ice with some of Edmonton’s superstars surely has to be intriguing as well.

It would be difficult for the Blackhawks to see Keith retire with this cap penalty but that is just the reality of the situation. If he doesn’t, Kyle Davidson can use that extra space to use as a weapon to gain assets for the future. Regardless of what happens, his life is going to be filled with hard decisions about this hockey club.

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