Hockey analysts react to “high risk” acquisition of Duncan Keith by Oilers

How will Ken Holland's acquisition of an aging veteran work out this time?


The legacy of current Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland can't be questioned, as during his time in the Motor City, he earned the right to have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup a whopping four times, three as Detroit's GM. 

But prior to Steve Yzerman's return to Detroit in April of 2019, Holland had fallen out of favor with Detroit Red Wings fans for numerous regrettable trades and exorbitant free agent signings for aging and underperforming players that the team continues to deal with today. 

Oilers fans are getting a taste of Holland's legendary love for past-their-prime veteran players, as he acquired former Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith this afternoon in a deal that sent young Cody Jones and a 3rd round draft selection back to the Windy City. 

Like Holland, Keith's legacy is secure. The 3-time Stanley Cup champion and two-time gold medal winner with Team Canada developed into one of the game's top blue liners not long after his NHL debut with Chicago during the 2005-06 NHL season. 

But as he does for everyone, Father Time comes for everyone. Keith certainly isn't the player that he once was during Chicago's glory years, and still has two years remaining with a cap hit of $5,538,462 on the 13 year deal he inked in 2009. Oh, and a no-trade clause - another favorite of Holland.

Take a look at what a few NHL analysts are saying about Keith's acquisition by Holland and the Oilers:

Bob Stauffer of Oilers Now: “I believe Duncan Keith is going to be a very good addition and an important issue for the Edmonton Oilers… If Duncan Keith is in your second pairing left shot pairing, you’ll be fine.”

ESPN's Greg Wyshynski: “Some intrigue on the Duncan Keith trade: The third-rounder headed to Chicago with Caleb Jones is a conditional pick, with conditions forthcoming when the deal is NHL approved. The Oilers don’t have a 3rd in 2021, FWIW.”

Chicago Sun Times' Ben Pope: "Full respect to Keith, but this is going to be absolute larceny by the Blackhawks."

Edmonton Journal's  Jim Matheson"Hawks had no leverage in deal but still wouldn’t retain salary. His cap hit is $5.538 mil this season and next. Loss for Oilers. Salary $2.1 mil and $1.6 mil.That’s win for owner Katz. Jones, at this time, is maybe third-pairing NHL D. McDavid, Leon, Nurse need Keith leadership."

Hockey writer David Pagnotta of the Fourth Period: Curious how the Keith acquisition affects/stalls an Adam Larsson signing for EDM. Keith has a NMC, which he agreed to waive for EDM, but carries over. It’s possible he waives it for the expansion draft or the Oilers & Larsson wait until after the draft to finalize/sign a new deal

The Hockey NewsMatt Larkin: So I have to assume the Keith deal guarantees we won’t see Adam Larsson re-signed before July 17…right? If Oilers are using a 7-3-1 protection scheme, it’ll be Nurse, Bear and Keith protected on ‘D.’