Blackhawks: Duncan Keith return reminds us just how good he was

Duncan Keith #2, Chicago Blackhawks Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Duncan Keith #2, Chicago Blackhawks Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /

A baby born on October 5th, 2005 would be alive for Duncan Keith’s first game with the Chicago Blackhawks, and he would be driving by the time Keith left the team to join the Edmonton Oilers this past offseason.

Keith spent 16 years with the Chicago Blackhawks playing in 1192 NHL games. During his time with the team, he was an assistant captain, a leader on the ice, and one of the best defensemen the team and the league has ever seen.

He won three Stanley Cups, two Norris Trophies, and a Conn Smythe trophy as well. Keith is a shoo-in for the Hall Of Fame and a jersey retirement with the first team he played for.

The Blackhawks drafted Keith during the second round of the 2002 NHL draft. He was taken 54th overall that year and was definitely the steal of the draft. Keith is the best player to come out of the draft that year. Some of the top names that year include Jay Bouwmeester, Rick Nash, and Trevor Daley.

The Chicago Blackhawks traded Duncan Keith this offseason to the Edmonton Oilers in a deal that few found shocking at the time. There were rumblings that Keith wanted to be closer to his family and the move made sense for both parties as Chicago tried to clear up cap space to apparently go out of their way to add Seth Jones.

Now, as Keith returns to Chicago for his first game against his former team in the Windy City, one cannot help but marvel at all Keith brought to the Blackhawks.

While his play might have fallen off during his last few years, his icetime never did. Keith averaged 24:57 minutes a night with the Blackhawks over the course of his career. That is a pretty big number.

He was the face of a blue line many teams have tried to emulate since then. The Blackhawks are still trying to make up for the loss that Keith left, but to be fair they were doing that while he was still with the team as his play dropped a little.

Tonight is definitely going to be a fun game, but strange to see Keith on the other side of the ice.

With Keith returning at a similar time to the Blackhawks naming Kyle Davidson their new general manager, it will be interesting to see what becomes of the other big stars in Chicago like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.