Apr 6, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Dunca Keith (2) skates to the Blackhawks bench during a time out against the Nashville Predators during the first period at Bridgestone Arena. The Blackhawks beat the Predators 1-0. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
We’re counting the days until the Chicago Blackhawks 2014 Season kicks off. We’re doing a Top 100 list of all time Chicago Blackhawks. It’s a fun way to pass the time and take a stroll down Memory Lane as we head towards opening night on October 9th in Dallas.
Duncan Keith: 2005-present
Games – 686
Goals – 65
Assists – 305
Points – 370
Games – 93
Goals – 12
Assists – 42
Points – 54
Our beloved Chicago Blackhawks have long been known for their offensive prowess, but as the saying goes, offense wins games, defense championships, and it hard to imagine the Hawks being as successful as they have been without there defensive anchor, Duncan Keith.
The Winnipeg, MB, CAN native made his NHL debut with the Blackhawks in 2005, making an immediate impact: tallying 25 points in 81 games and averaging 23 minutes per game. In the following years, Keith would make an even stronger contribution as the Blackhawks defensive ranks were affected by injuries, eventually landing on the same line as his future blue line partner, Brent Seabrook in the 2007-2008 season.
His contributions to the team were far from unrecognized, as he was made Alternative Captain at the start of the 2008-2009 season. Dunc and Seabs would go on to become the most effective shutdown pair of defensemen in the league, drawing many comparisons to former Hawks blue-liners Chris Chelios and Gary Suter. The similarities between Keith and Chelios didn’t end there. During the 2009-2010 season, Keith tallied a total of 69 points, the highest ever total since Chelios’ 72-point season in 1995-1996. Keith is also shy just one Norris Trophy of Chelli’s three so far in his career.
If I may continue on the Keith-Chelios parallel for a moment, for anyone, such as myself, who has had the honor of meeting both Duncan Keith and Chris Chelios in person, the one thing that jumps out at you about them is for NHL defensemen, they’re somewhat underwhelming physically. Yet, as we saw in the 1990’s, Chelios made up for his lack of physical stature by stick mechanics, total ice vision, surgically precise body positioning, and ridiculous endurance.
When it comes to said defensive skills, Duncan Keith is Chris Chelios incarnate and then some in the 2000’s. However, unlike Chelios, Keith has brought not one, but two Stanley Cup victories thus far to Chicago, and Dunc won’t stab Chi-Town in the back by running away to the Detroit Red Wings (spitting sound); he made that abundantly clear when he extended his contract with the Blackhawks through 2023.
Suffice it say, while the Hawks’ flashier forwards get all the fanfare, Keith has quietly been one of the strongest rocks in the Blackhawks’ foundation since his arrival in Chi-Town. Here’s hoping for many years to come, Chicago runs on Duncan.
What do you think? Too low or too high for Keith?
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FOR THE DAGGER!