Duncan Keith will go down in history as one of the best defensemen the Chicago Blackhawks have ever had. However, will these past few seasons hurt his legacy?
It is hard to imagine a Blackhawks blue line without Duncan Keith on it, but at some point in the future, we are going to see just that. When Keith hangs up his skates and retires, he is going to leave behind a team grateful for his contributions. However, when they talk about his legacy, how much will be mentioned of these past few seasons?
Duncan Keith is known for his Stanley Cups, Conn Smythe, and Norris Trophies, these past few seasons have not helped to build that resume. Great players find ways to continue to succeed, even when the group around them struggles. We saw Patrick Kane put up long point streaks during bad seasons for the Blackhawks, but for Keith he has gone into hibernation.
Duncan Keith is still being asked to play top-line minutes even though he would play better hockey if he were playing a little less. Keith has not broken 35 points twice in the past three seasons and is showing some signs of slowing down.
He is still the best blueliner on this team, but he is no longer getting considering in the league-wide discussion on who are the top blueliners, and this comes just three years after Keith was honored as one of the top 100 players throughout all of NHL history.
The legacy of Duncan Keith is not going to be impacted by these past four seasons, and that is good and bad. We are always going to remember the success he had during the Blackhawks championships runs, the way he lost his teeth en route to the Blackhawks first Stanley Cup in 49 years, and how he played over half of every game during the 2015 Stanley Cup run and was the clear choice for the Conn Smythe.
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However, when Keith retires, and the ‘Blackhawks start putting together his highlight reel, how much are we going to see 2018 to now? Sure their might have been the occasional big play here and there, but for the most part, the Blackhawks are just running out the clock on one of their best blueliners of all time.
Keith can still be a threat in the NHL, and if he wants to win another Stanley Cup, I think the Blackhawks should give him his wish and trade him to a contender. Maybe the Blackhawks compete for the Stanley Cup again sometime soon, but Keith has a better chance with a different team.
The legacy of Duncan Keith is one of winning and dominance. He was the most reliable defenseman the Blackhawks have had since before Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were in the league. He and his partner on the blue line, Brent Seabrook, will be remembered as one of the best defensive pairings in Blackhawks history.
Fans should always remember how good Keith was and how much he gave to this city. If he wants to win another championship, I believe the Blackhawks should give him that opportunity to continue to build his legacy!