It’s weird that an NHL player’s reputation can be catapulted from very good player to the esteemed realms of potential hall-of-famer at the circus that is the NHL Awards Ceremony. As strange as it may be, that is exactly what has happened to Chicago Blackhawks’ defenseman, Duncan Keith, after he won his 2nd career Norris Trophy.
Now that Keith has won 2 Norris Trophies, he is amongst the elite of the elite. Only 11 other defensemen in the history of the NHL have won more than one Norris Trophy. If Keith does not wind up in the Hall-0f-Fame, after his career is over, he will be the first player with more than one Norris Trophy to not be in the Hall. Keith(2010,2014) joins Pierre Pilote(1963,1964,1965) and Chris Chelios(1993,1996) as the only Blackhawks to have won multiple Norris Trophies.
While his resume seemingly is already good enough to be in the Hall, how exactly could he not make it in? Easy, injuries. Injuries can derail the career of any player, no matter how promising or how good they already are. For example, take a look at Eric Lindros. During the first 8 years of his career, with the Philadelphia Flyers, Lindros put up 659 points in only 486 games. 7 time All-Star, Calder Trophy Winner, Hart Trophy winner, and a Ted Lindsay Award winner However, injuries derailed his flourishing career, and he ended up only playing 5 more injury plagued seasons, after his incredible first 8 seasons. He eventually called it a career, in 2007, and still had 372 career goals and 493 career assists good for 865 points, in 760 games, in his NHL career. Lindros, though, is not a Hall-of-Famer. He has been eligible since 2010, and his chances aren’t likely to get any better any time soon.
If Eric Lindros can miss out on the Hall-of-Fame, Duncan Keith can miss out on the Hall-of-Fame.
Now, is it likely that Keith will suffer the same fate as Lindros? It’s doubtful, but you never know.
Keith is 30 years old and is in the prime of his career. He likely has about 3 more prime years left, but that doesn’t mean his career will be over after that. Even after a player’s prime years are finished, many players can continue to be productive for several years after. In Keith’s case, he will likely go from a great player to a very good player, once he’s past his prime. He could very easily add to his Norris collection, but he doesn’t have to.
As long as Keith’s career takes it’s natural course, he should be in the Hall-of-Fame, eventually. He has the stats, two Norris Trophies, two Olympic Gold Medals, two Stanley Cups, and he’s only 30. You can’t really ask for much more than that, but in all likelihood, there will be much more to come.