After another solid season, the Chicago Blackhawks will look at Duncan Keith to help fix their defense. Can he have another solid season?
The number of minutes this man has logged since the 2006 season, when he joined the Blackhawks, is ridiculous to look at. He leads the team in minutes since that time in the regular season and playoffs.
This season, there’s a lot on the line. We don’t know who the goalie is yet. We don’t know who will be re-signed and who won’t be. There are a lot of question marks that are usually answered by this time. For the first time ever, the Stanley Cup is in September, so those questions won’t be answered until at least November.
No matter who the goalie is, Keith will have to be playing his best hockey. The team is likely to lose Olli Maatta, which opens up space for Ian Mitchell. Mitchell early on could struggle, along with him not playing as many minutes as Maatta would. That puts more pressure on the top lines, where Keith will be playing.
As the top defensemen, Keith will most-likely play the most minutes on the team. That’s something his body has gotten used to, but can he continue to play as many minutes this upcoming season?
The defense will struggle this year, no question. Keith will be moved around to work with the younger defensemen, as he can bounce back and make up for sloppy play by his other partner. There’s only one Keith, there will be 5 other guys on defense. Either way, I am expecting Keith to put on a show, leading by example, and by mid-season, this defense will be improved from 2019-20.
For Keith, I am expecting 30-plus points in 2020-21. He was getting there until the pandemic hit and the NHL paused their season. If you count the playoffs, Keith had 32-points this season.
Keith has improved his body, getting ripped, and looking better than ever. If he can continue to grow on that this offseason, 2020-21 Keith could be even better.
At the end of it, Keith is winding down his career. He has a few more years left on his contract and he is still playing at a high level. These core players want another Stanley Cup. If Keith can play at a high level, this team will have a real good shot to make the playoffs. Once you’re in the playoffs, anything can happen.