Duncan Keith has been a critical part of the Blackhawks throughout his 14-year NHL career. But will he be part of the future?
The Blackhawks have not spoken to him about waiving his no-move clause, Keith told reporters prior to Chicago’s 7-3 win against the Buffalo Sabres at KeyBank Center on Friday.
“I like it here in Chicago, and nobody’s mentioned anything to me,” the 35-year-old defenseman said. “I haven’t really thought too much about anything. You get reports out there. I don’t know where that stuff kind of comes from. I just take it one day at a time.”
Keith’s comments came after Pierre LeBrun said on TSN’s Insider Trading on Thursday that the Blackhawks will talk to Keith about options before the trade deadline.
Keith, signed through the 2022-23 season, helped Chicago win the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015. He has 565 points (94 goals, 471 assists) in 1,047 regular season NHL games and 81 points (18 goals, 63 assists) in 126 postseason games. Keith has 22 points (two goals, 20 assists) in 52 games this season.
The Blackhawks (19-24-9, 47 points) are five points behind the Colorado Avalanche (22-20-8, 52 points) for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. Chicago plays the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC).
Keith would be a great asset for a contending team, considering past accomplishments and present level of play. He leads Chicago with 22:41 of ice time a game this season and has played all 82 games five times in his NHL career, including last season.
“I’m not going to start getting into all that and create a bunch of stories here about what I would think, about what I would do, speculate on how I would feel,” Keith said. “Not getting into that.”
Forward Nikolay Goldobin, a healthy scratch for five straight games, is expected to be in the lineup when the Canucks visit the Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, SN360, SN1, CITY, ALT2, NHL.TV). But Vancouver general manager Jim Benning told The Province that doesn’t mean the 23-year-old is being showcased for a trade.
“That’s not the case,” Benning said. “He’s a good kid and wants to do well and he’s progressing to get better and that’s part of development. We’re going to continue to work with him.”
Goldobin has 23 points (five goals, 18 assists) in 44 games.
The Canucks (23-22-6, 52 points) are tied in points with Colorado (22-20-8, 52 points) but the Avalanche hold the second wild card in the West because they have a game in hand on Vancouver.
The Canucks could do something prior to the trade deadline, but Benning said on SportsNet 650 last week he won’t disrupt their long-term plans to do so.
“We want to keep our draft picks because we have it in Vancouver this year,” Benning said of the 2019 NHL Draft, which will be at Rogers Arena on June 21 and 22. “We’re going to get a good player in the first round again. There are enough good players in the first round where, if we’re lucky enough to make the playoffs, we’re still going to get a good player at 16, 17, 18.
“If there’s a hockey deal to do for one of our younger players or a player we have on a team for maybe a different look, another player from another team we think is going to help us, we’ll look at doing something like that. But I’m not going to mortgage the future to try and make a run to make the playoffs.
New Jersey Devils
Brian Boyle knows what can happen as the trade deadline approaches.
The Devils forward, who can become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, could be on the move with New Jersey struggling. But the 34-year-old told The Athletic he would like to remain where he is.
“I’d like to stay, and I’d like to play well enough to help this team turn it around,” Boyle said. “I’ve been through it before, so however it comes up, it comes up. [Devils general manager] Ray [Shero]’s got his job to do and I don’t really want to speak to that because he’s done it for a long time. He’s going to do what he feels is best.”
Boyle, who was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia on Sept. 19, 2017, announced his cancer was in remission on Oct. 24, 2018 and won the Masterton Trophy for perseverance and dedication to hockey last season. He has 19 points (13 goals, six assists) in 45 games this season and 211 points (119 goals, 92 assists) in 738 career NHL games.
He is in a similar situation as two years ago when the Tampa bay Lightning were out of the playoff picture and traded Boyle to the contending Toronto Maple Leafs prior to the trade deadline on Feb. 27, 2017. Boyle remains a solid option for a contending team considering he plays both special teams, is strong on face-offs and has 111 games of NHL postseason experience.
The Devils (19-24-7, 45 points) entered Saturday 14 points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets (28-19-3, 59 points) for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference.
General manager Jim Rutherford has been busy retooling the Penguins. The latest move came on Friday, when Pittsburgh acquired forwards Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann from the Florida Panthers in a trade for forwards Derick Brassard, Riley Sheahan and three picks in the 2019 NHL Draft.
So the Penguins are done tinkering, right? Maybe not. Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Friday he likes Pittsburgh’s makeup right now, but things could change before the deadline.
“I like the fact that we were able to make this move early,” he said. “We’ll watch our team real close. I don’t feel any urgency to get back on the phone tomorrow to go and do something else. But as we know, at this time of year, there’s things that come along that you don’t expect. I’m sure that there will be. We’ll see where it goes now.”
The Penguins (28-17-6, 62 points) are second in the Metropolitan Division, two points behind the first-place New York Islanders (29-15-6, 64 points). The Penguins face the Toronto Maple Leafs at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; ESPN+, CBC, SN1, SNE, SNO, SNP, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV) following a 5-3 win against the Ottawa Senators on Friday; Bjugstad had an assist in his Pittsburgh debut.
[RELATED: NHL Trade Buzz: Penguins move Brassard hoping for upgrade at center]