While we wait for the NHL to give official confirmation of the trade between the Hawks and Thrashers, let’s take time out to recognize Duncan Keith for doing something only three Blackhawks have done before, win the Norris Trophy.
Keith absolutely deserved to win the trophy this year as he was the best defenseman on the best team. It’s been quite the journey for the 2002 2nd round pick. As someone who was never projected above a 3rd or 4th defensemen when selected, Keith was a huge beneficiary of the massive rule changes the NHL installed following the strike.
With the game opening up and crease battles becoming as relevant as wooden sticks, it allowed for someone of Keith’s skill set to excel. And in the last three years, he certainly has. His ever-present stick and speed have turned him from a cute little novelty act into one of the game’s most dangerous weapons.
So while Mike Smith and Dale Tallon should get credit for selecting Keith way back when, there’s no way they could’ve known at the time how good he would become. Call it dumb luck or whatever you want; things worked out pretty well.
It should be fun watching him for the next 14 years.
As a side note, I’m going to hold off any in-depth analysis about today’s trade until it becomes official. The word from Bob McKenzie is the trade won’t become official until Atlanta sheds a contract as they’re currently over the 50 maximum. So until they figure things out, no one is going anywhere. (Though he does say it will likely be consummated Thursday or Friday) I don’t want to ramble on a 1500 word prose on a trade that never materializes so we’ll just have to wait it out.