Welcome home, Duncan

Thursday night is going to feel awfully nostalgic for Blackhawks fans.

The organization will celebrate the career of Niklas Hjalmarsson.

And Duncan Keith will play his first game at the United Center as a visitor.

Keith’s Oilers teammates gave him a welcome “home” worthy of the hero he was in Chicago when he walked into the arena as a visitor for the first time yesterday.

And I’m sure the reception he receives at the United Center this evening will be equally stirring.

How do we wrap the impact Keith had on the ice for the Blackhawks?

Was Keith the best defenseman to ever wear a Blackhawks sweater? No, of course not. Who can forget those 26 glorious games Bobby Orr spent as a Blackhawk?

But was he the best to ever spend the majority of his Hall of Fame career as a Blackhawks defenseman?

Pierre Pilote won three Norris Trophies with Chicago. Chris Chelios won two here. So they have as many (more in the case of Pilote) individual awards as Keith’s two Norris Trophies from their time with the Blackhawks.

Bob Murray and Brent Seabrook are the only other defensemen to appear in more than 1,000 regular season games with the franchise. Keith holds the all-time record with 1,192 in the Indian head.

New Hall of Famer Doug Wilson (779) is the only defenseman to produce more points from the back end for the Blackhawks than Keith’s 625.

Among all-time Blackhawks defensemen, Keith ranks third in goals scored (105), second in assists (520), second in points, sixth in power play goals (30) and third in game-winning goals (18).

But numbers only tell part of the story with Keith.

We all will remember him losing most of his front teeth blocking a shot, only to return to the game as the Blackhawks won the Western Conference Final in 2010.

His Braveheart speeches are legendary.

He represented the Blackhawks and Canada in two gold medal-winning Olympics.

Since 2000-01, only four defensemen have won the Conn Smythe: Nicklas Lidstrom (2002), Scott Niedermayer (2007), Keith (2015) and Victor Hedman (2020).

His resume is arguably the best in the NHL over the past 15 years. He’s on an incredibly short list of defensemen with multiple gold medals, multiple Norris Trophies and a Conn Smythe. Only Lidstrom has done it in the last 30 years.

Duncan Keith will forever be one of — if not the — greatest defenseman in the history of the Chicago Blackhawks. His resume is unparalleled in franchise history. And, some time in the future, his No. 2 will join the other retired numbers in the rafters.

5 thoughts on “Welcome home, Duncan

  • March 3, 2022 at 9:43 am

    Welcome back Duncan thanks for the memories you always came to play thanks for you efforts and hustle !!!

  • March 3, 2022 at 10:21 am

    Nice tribute ahead of tonight Tab, certainly one of the alltime great Blackhawks, there would be no dynasty without him. Amassed those 1st ballot hof credentials and numbers while jumping over the boards against opposing teams top lines each shift. Thank you and look forward to seeing him and Hammer back tonight with Toews back in lineup as well.

  • March 3, 2022 at 12:08 pm

    As a teen, I couldn’t imagine anyone better than Doug Wilson. That #24 was on anyone else, even Bob Probert, I took as an insult to Dougie!!! Then came this kid. He was fast and played defense really well. His stickwork was noticeable. He just got better and better. That damn Duncan Keith. I just loved watching him play. Under a young coach, who is no longer here, his play slipped dramatically. Was it him? Was it the defensive system? WTH happened? Then he went to Edmonton. He wanted to be closer to his family. I couldn’t blame him. I kept tabs. His defensive play was better. He wasn’t the young guy anymore. But, he was better than the last few years here in Chicago. I’m happy for him.
    He has done something I didn’t think could ever be done. He is my #1 All Time Favorite Blackhawk Defensemen. #2 then #24. When he hangs the skates up, I will look forward to the day that his #2 is retired and his banner waves in the rafters. Hopefully, #24 and #28 will not be far behind. This is just for Duncan Keith. I know there are others, from the 3 Stanley Cup Teams. 19 and 88 most notably. But, today. It’s all about the guy who knocked my favorite Blackhawk Defenseman from his pedestal. Welcome Home Duncan Keith. Good to see ya!!!

  • March 3, 2022 at 2:06 pm

    Great post Edman: Couldn’t have said it any better.

  • March 3, 2022 at 4:53 pm

    KEITH! Still has a jump in his stride ! Hall of Famer for sure ! The real D man ! Canuck always ! Responsible for cups coming to Windy City ! Retire the number ! They need more of those player banners in the rafters including #28 , game is on coast to coast in Canada tonight on Top Canadian TV Broadcast ! POPS 4

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