32-Year-Old Defenseman – Chicago Blackhawks
Duncan Keith Contract Information:
Signed a 13-year, $72 million contract extension with the Blackhawks in December 2009.
Keith (knee) will make his return to the Blackhawks' blue line for Saturday's matchup with St. Louis, Brian Hedger of NHL.com reports.
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Duncan Keith: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
If there were people who didnít consider Keith among the best defensemen in NHL before last season, there are very few who would say the same now after he took home his second Norris Trophy. Keithís 55 assists in 79 games last season equaled his total in 2009-10 and led all defenseman in the category, offsetting his meager total of six goals. He can bring a little -- no, a lot -- of everything on the blue line, including blocks. We're glad to see his block numbers starting to decline, though. Someone as valuable as Keith shouldn't be stepping into 95 mph slappers with much frequency. Take him off the board as one of the first defenders chosen.
At this point, it's pretty safe to say Keith's 69 points in 2009-10 really were the exception and not the norm. He remains one of the NHL's most beautiful skaters, but he's probably more likely to deliver you 45 points than those 69, with between one third and one half of them coming on the power play. And, of course, there's the elite plus-minus, too.
Keith is a sublime skater and one of the league's top offensive defenders. Will he ever hit 69 points again? Probably not. But he'll certainly deliver more than last season's 40 points. Focus on 50 points and 140 blocked shots. But keeper leaguers should watch his totals closely. If he looks like he's about to finish in the 40-45 point range, he should be put on the fantasy trade block. That could be who he is. And that 2009-10 was just a nice blip on his resume.
It was probably expected that Keith would have a down year after his breakout 2009-10, where he registered 69 points and the Norris Trophy. Both goals and assists were down (7 goals and 38) but also his plus/minus slipped precipitously to minus-1. He will definitely improve on his numbers from 2010-11, but might be hard pressed to duplicate his Norris Trophy season.
If you need a high-scoring fantasy defenseman, consider pursuing Duncan Teeth.. er, Keith. This hard-nosed blueliner lost seven teeth in the playoff clinching game, and later flashed several fan-induced toothless smiles in Chicago's Stanley Cup victory parade. He's been good for 80-plus games in three of the last four years, while acting as a staple on the team's blue line. Best of all, heís the reigning Norris Trophy winner. Heíll be an attractive buy in all fantasy leagues.
Keith, 26, is an undervalued defenseman and had a quality plus-30 last season with eight goals and 36 assists for 44 points, the most he has tallied in his short NHL career. He is the Hawks most polished defender and should increase his output this season barring an injury.
Keith ranked fifth overall in the NHL last season with a plus-30 rating. At 24, Keith has proven to be exceptionally durable the last two seasons, playing in all 82 contests each year. The addition of Campbell and Huet to the defense should only enhance this young defenseman's fervor and production in the 2008-09 season.
The second part of the Hawks two-headed defense (along with Brent Seabrook), Keith tallied two goals and 29 assists along with 76 penalty minutes while playing all 82 games for the Hawks. After tallying nine goals as a rookie in 2005-06, Keith connected on just 1.6 percent of his shots, so the potential for improvement (ceiling of 35-40 points; double-digit goals) is there as his fellow blueliners continue to develop as well.
The Hawks are looking at Keith to take another step as the team's second best defensive prospect (behind Brent Seabrook). And the club is hoping for better numbers this season (9 goals and 12 assists in 2005-06). Should top last season's number if the team starts picking up their offensive prowess which has been lacking for several years.
Kieth, a 22-year-old defenseman, is very offensive, but he also gets in his fair share of scraps. He needs to become more consistent.