Chicago Blackhawks: 3 keys to success for Duncan Keith

Chicago Blackhawks, Duncan Keith (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Blackhawks, Duncan Keith (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
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Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks
Duncan Keith, Chicago Blackhawks (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Key 2: Change his game

Even if the changes are modest, Keith is 37-years-old, and he needs to alter his game. Time has taken a toll on him, and he’s not the player he once was. The days of Keith relying on his phenomenal skating to chase down players are more or less over. At this point, even if he’s still physically ready for the games, he probably needs to take up a simpler strategy and be a bit more focused on his efforts. He’s lost a step, but he can still play.  Being at the level of Team Canada’s #1 defenseman is gone. At this point, he’s a 2nd of 3rd pairing defenseman.

Instead of trying to be a guy that does it all, it would be best if he ceded some responsibilities to other players. For example, he should play either on the penalty kill or the power play, but not both. I would personally prefer Keith to focus on defense since Chicago is bringing in rookies to fill in the gaps, and mostly on offense.

Not everyone will agree with this, and he’s won the Norris Trophy twice. The problem is that Keith’s offensive production may be dropping off. It’s hard to really conclude because the season ended so abruptly, and there was still a ways to go for the full 82 games. However, if you look at Keith’s PS, (Point Share, which is the number of points contributed by the player to the team), there’s a clear arc from 2005-2006 to 2019-2020. You could argue that Keith’s numbers reflect the quality of the team around him, but at 37-years-old, it’s a generous argument.

He’s still got the speed, for the most part, but not like he used to. It would probably be best if he simply started focusing on playing a more conservative game. The team needs defense, and his experience can help provide that. If he sticks around with Chicago, hopefully, he starts lurking a bit more in the defensive zone, rather than trying to drive the offense.