Editorials

Chicago Blackhawks: Duncan Keith’s Contract is Best in Salary Cap Era

By Jimmy Lynch
Duncan Keith #2, Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Duncan Keith #2, Chicago Blackhawks Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
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When the Chicago Blackhawks gave Duncan Keith his current contract back in December of 2009, there was no way to know all the good it would bring the team during the salary cap era.

In December of 2009, the Chicago Blackhawks signed Duncan Keith for 13 years at 5.5 million a season. The contract was worth 72 million dollars and kept Keith in the city of Chicago until 2023.

Every deal comes with a little bit of risk, but for the Blackhawks to sign Keith in 2009 for 13 years gave the team a great deal of security heading into their three championships. While this deal did not count for Keith during the team’s 2010 run, they were already ready to go with his new deal at the conclusion of the season.

Let’s take a look at some of the top defensemen in the NHL. Erik Karlsson makes 11.5 million, Drew Doughty makes 11 million and John Carlson is at 8 million. Chicago has Toews and Kane at 10.5 million dollars each. The fact that they have two top players at above 10 million makes the fact that they have Keith at just 5.5 million really helpful for the Blackhawks at the salary cap front.

If the Blackhawks had to pay Keith even a million more, they would have had worse a salary cap situation than they did a few years back. Keith is just the 39th highest-paid defenseman in the NHL, and yet at times, he was playing as one of the best.

I know Keith is not talked about in as high of light as he used to be, our own site tried calling his contract one of the worst on the team a few months back. (I disagree with that by the way). While Keith’s play has fallen off a little bit, he is still the best defenseman this team has, and he has been playing top pairing minutes throughout all of his career.

For the next three years at just 5.5 million, I believe Duncan Keith is a steal for the Blackhawks. Even if that means he has a no-movement clause and the Blackhawks have to protect him against Seattle, it is still worth it when one of the best defenders in Blackhawks history is around to help the team.

Duncan Keith has had a lot of success with the Chicago Blackhawks. So much so that he has seen some national praise with his Conn Smythe trophy and two Norris Trophies. Keith was also voted as one of the top 100 players of all time during the 100 year anniversary of the NHL.

Duncan Keith has been in the NHL since 2005, after his four-year contract was up he signed a massive deal to secure his stay in the city of Chicago. That single contract has helped give the Blackhawks three Stanley Cups and a number of competitive years.

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While the Blackhawks are entering a rebuild right now if it was not for Duncan Keith this rebuild would have begun a long time ago. Keith’s contract is never going to be matched again in the NHL, and at just 5.5 million a year he truly is a steal.

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