Revisiting Edmonton Oilers Trades: The Duncan Keith Trade

Duncan Keith #2, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Duncan Keith #2, Edmonton Oilers (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

On July 12, 2021 the Edmonton Oilers made a controversial trade to acquire longtime Chicago Blackhawk and two time Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith, here is how the trade looked,

*3rd Round pick becomes a 2nd if Oilers make 2022 cup finals and Keith is top 4 in ice time through first three rounds

This trade led to Chicago landing free agent defensemen Seth Jones, who wanted to play alongside his brother Caleb. Initially there was outrage among the Oilers faithful, as a result of settling for a measly return as opposed to making the Hawks pay for Jones, who was an instrumental part in signing his brother later that offseason.

The Oilers Return

Duncan Keith

The 38 year old defensemen had had a minor improvement this season, netting a goal and 18 assists though 54 games this season. Eclipsing his totals from last season where he reached 15 points in the 54 game shortened campaign.

Keith however has struggled at times with the Oilers. Posting an expected +/- of -1.8, which has improved from the -9.9 of last season, but that could be attributed to being on a better team. Keith’s Corsi for % is a shade under 50% at 49.1%, meaning the opposition out possesses the puck when Keith is on the ice which is 4% lower than when Keith is not on the ice.

Another big issue this season has been the veteran defensemen speed, constantly being a step behind his man defensively, unfortunately answering his pre-season comment “Once we hit the ice, we’re gonna see who’s a step behind this year”. One thing that can’t be quantified is Keith leadership and impact in a rather young Oilers locker room.

One of the main selling points on Keith was his Stanley Cup pedigree and his ability to show the club how to win. With that being possibly the biggest positive of the declining star, the $5.5 million until 2023 makes him a burden for the Orange and Blue’s cap situation.

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Tim Soderlund

The 24 year old Soderlund has not lived up to expectations after being drafted in the 4th round by Chicago in 2017. The 5’9″ left winger spent 7 games in Bakersfield being held without a point, before being sent to the clubs ECHL affiliate Wichita Thunder, where the Swede put up 9 points in 8 games before eventually heading back to Sweden. With Soderlund being in the last year of his $925,000 ELC, he likely will not receive any new offers from the Club.

Caleb Jones

Jones has put up a relatively similar season to Keith this year, with 13 points in 46 games played. Jones’ underlying numbers have been relatively similar to Keith’s, with a Corsi for % of 46.4% and an expected +/- of -1. For a massively more palatable contract, making $850,000 for the remainder of this season.

At the end of it all, it feels like the Oilers took on the salary of Keith for a very similar player in Jones. For a team as in tough with the salary cap as the Oilers, this trade makes just as little sense now as it did at the time.

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