2 – Is Duncan Keith up to the challenge?
Duncan Keith is entering his 16th season with the Blackhawks. Now once again, he will be asked to be a top-pairing defenseman on a Blackhawks team that is missing some key personnel. Not only that, he will be relied upon heavily to be a teacher to some of the younger defensemen this team has.
Keith is no stranger to leading a blue line. He has been an assistant captain on the Chicago Blackhawks for over ten years and has captured numerous trophies along the way. However, now more than ever, he will be asked to lead.
The Blackhawks will be missing Jonathan Toews for the time being, a player critical to this team. So in his absence, the rest of the core group will have to step up. But with Brent Seabrook’s status as a top-six defenseman uncertain, Chicago might be leaning more heavily on Keith and Kane to lead than ever before.
In the past, it seemed like Keith was the type of player that led by example. Instead of being a vocal player in the locker room, Keith was a leader on the ice in how he played. When Seabrook fell to injury last season, the one thing we heard about him repeatedly was how vocal he was in the locker room in getting everyone ready for games.
This season it will be interesting to see if Keith can help be the Blackhawks voice when Chicago is more shorthanded than ever. The ‘Hawks core group is more shorthanded than ever, and we are closer to a new era in Chicago than we are to the team’s championships in the 2010s. Keith can help bridge the gap.