Rumors of him sticking with the organization in some capacity were out there, but on September 15, 2022, it was announced that Duncan Keith signed a player development contract with the Edmonton Oilers. This will be his first run as an NHL executive after years as one of the best defensemen in the league.
In July, Keith announced his retirement from the NHL after a 17-year, Hall of Fame career split between the Chicago Blackhawks (16 years) and Oilers (one year). Last season, he had 1 goal, 20 assists, 21 points, and was a plus-15 in 64 games in Edmonton. In his career, he had played in 1,256 career games with 106 goals, 540 assists, 646 points, and was a plus-159. The Conn Smythe Trophy, two-time Norris Trophy, and three-time Stanley Cup winner has significantly impacted his Chicago teammates. He was one of the key players during their dynasty years and one of the best defensemen in Blackhawks’ history.
Related: Oilers’ Duncan Keith Set to Retire After Lengthy NHL Career
Although his time in Edmonton was short, Keith had the same impact on the Oilers’ locker room. Rookie defenseman Evan Bouchard mentioned how Keith has been instrumental to his development and helped him grow as a person and as a defense pairing. It’s an example of what can be expected from Keith in a player development role. Keith mentioned in his retirement press conference that the Oilers organization has many great players and many great pieces for the future, to which he will bring invaluable knowledge.
Something else that Keith mentioned in his press conference is relevant now. He said that a one of the reasons for choosing retirement, as opposed to playing out the final year of his 13-year, $72 million contract had to do with how hockey tied into his personal life. He stated, “I’m getting older. I’m 39 at the end of the week, and the opportunity and the thought of being around my son Colton more and being around him and his hockey, being able to help my brother coach our boys, his daughter and my niece; the more and more it got closer to that, the more excited I became about that thought.”
Keith seems like he already had coaching on his mind and with the expertise he can bring to the Oilers, this new position seems like a win-win for all involved.
Next: Oilers Extend Multiple PTO Offers, Veterans Coming to Camp
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