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Sometimes The Best Deal Is The One You Never Make

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You don’t need this deal. You shouldn’t want this deal.

Tampa Bay Lightning v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

Duncan Keith talks have hit a fever pitch recently. If you’re just hopping into it, here’s what we know so far:

  • Three time Stanley Cup winning defenceman Duncan Keith has asked to be traded from the Chicago Blackhawks to a club in either Western Canada or the Pacific Northwest. You can count those clubs on your fingers. The reasoning is said to be that he wants to be closer to his son. So far, so good.
  • The Oilers are at least interested. Considering his age (soon to be 38) and cap hit (5.5 x 2 more years), I’d think those two things are a non-starter for the club. As of right now, they’re very much not non-starters.
  • While the actual dollar amount pales in comparison to the cap hit (3.6MM actual dollars over two years total) the Blackhawks would almost need to hold cap space on this deal to make it happen. There’s no indications that they’re prepared to do that at this time. Elliotte Friedman suggests that the Blackhawks might be gearing up to take a run at Seth Jones when the UFA period begins. (The Blackhawks have about six million in cap space at this moment, they’re going to need every dollar they can get if they’re going to go in on Seth Jones).
  • Caleb Jones’ name has popped up as a possible trade chip. This is too much already.
  • Today, talk of an additional prospect or a pick may need to be shipped to get the deal done.

This is bizarro world. Cats, dogs, living together in harmony. Upside-down land.

If the Oilers come anywhere near to sending Caleb Jones and and an additional prospect to Chicago for anything at all to do with Duncan Keith, it’s utter lunacy. I don’t care if it’s at 50%, shipping a prospect like Jones and an additional prospect for two years of Duncan Keith is so far from what the Oilers need to do, it should be a crime.

This isn’t to say that Keith isn’t a valuable asset to a team, as a three time Stanley Cup Champion is going to come with plenty of experience that is nowhere to be found on this club. Keith no doubt brings with him a wealth of experience to the table. If this was 2013 Duncan Keith, I’d be all over this deal.

Unfortunately, it’s 2021 and he’s about to turn 38. He’s struggled every year since 2016, and the Oilers absolutely do not need to give Chicago any sort of relief so that they can pursue Seth Jones. They absolutely do not need to trade Caleb Jones to the Blackhawks in order for this deal to happen, and they really shouldn’t even think about adding even more to that.

Walk away. There’s no good reason that you’d send two quality assets to Chicago for 2021 Duncan Keith. I’d rather the club sign Dmitry Kulikov (after the expansion draft) or they could make a pitch to a prospective free agent like Jake McCabe or even Jamie Oleksiak. Neither of these players would require giving up any assets. There’s no reason to make it difficult. Caleb Jones could at the worst be a good third pairing defenceman on the left side.

We’ve got to move on. Pull the plug on this deal, there are better ones to be had.