In today’s NHL rumors rundown, the Chicago Blackhawks and defenseman Duncan Keith are reportedly working on a trade that will see him finish his career elsewhere. Meanwhile, Jonathan Toews discusses why he missed the entirety of the 2020-21 NHL season and where he’s at now with his recovery. The Maple Leafs and Zach Hyman are still far apart when it comes to a contract extension. Finally, the Philadelphia Flyers are reportedly working hard to make a Seth Jones trade a reality.
Blackhawks to Trade Duncan Keith?
As per a report by Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman, one he discussed again during Wednesday’s Game 2 broadcast of the Stanley Cup Final: “There are rumblings Chicago is working on a potential Duncan Keith trade to either the Pacific Northwest or Western Canada.” He adds, “Word is Keith and team are working together to get him to a place he wants to go. We will see where this goes.”
The belief is that Keith has expressed a willingness to finish out his career closer to home and the Blackhawks would be happy to try and facilitate a deal like that. Moving Keith also frees up cap space for the Blackhawks who are not necessarily in win-now mode and won’t be as Keith finishes off his career at the age of 37.
There is chatter that Seattle, Vancouver and Edmonton could be among the destinations that might have an interest in Keith (or at least that he might consider), but it’s not clear to what extent those teams would be interested and whether or not there would need to be some salary retention in any deal. Keith comes in a $5.54 million per season salary cap hit. That said, the salary remaining is only $3.6 million of his $72 million, 13-year contract. The team who lands him will be paying him $2.1 million 2021-22 and $1.5 million in 2022-23.
Toews Talks Health Issues
Jonathan Toews reveals he was dealing with Chronic Immune Response Syndrome. The good news is, the Blackhawks captain has announced that he will return this upcoming season. He was skating and working with the team which was fantastic news.
When he described what he was going through this past year, he told Mark Lazerus of The Athletic:
He was lethargic. He was fatigued. He’d wake up in the morning and take a sip of water and his stomach would immediately bloat. His arms and legs felt like lead weights. His breathing was labored. His sinuses were stuffy. He’d have days when he could barely get out of bed. His digestion was off. His immune system was triggering, working to put out flames that didn’t seem to exist. Then he’d string together a couple of good days and excitedly hit the gym or the ice, only to be back at square one the next day. He left Chicago and holed up somewhere mostly alone — he won’t say where — for months on end, cutting himself off from his team, from his teammates, from his fans, from his life as he tried to find what was wrong and fix it.source – ‘Blackhawks’ Jonathan Toews opens up about the longest year of his life: ‘The best worst thing that’s ever happened to me’’ Mark Lazerus – The Athletic – 06/30/2021
The sounds of it were that he was a COVID long-hauler — someone who simply couldn’t shake the virus. He says he’s not all the way back yet and he’s not taking anything for granted.
Some are wondering about the timing of his announcement from a public-relations standpoint. The Blackhawks are tied up in two messy lawsuits alleging sexual abuse of two players by 2010 video coach Brad Aldrich, and another alleging the Blackhawks brass knew about it and failed to report it. Toews said he had been planning this announcement and a video that came with it for weeks. It was his decision to go public, not the Blackhawks’ decision.
Hyman and Leafs Still Far Apart on Contract
Despite some thought that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins new extension with the Edmonton Oilers might give new hope to the Maple Leafs working something out with Zach Hyman, according to Elliotte Friedman the Leafs and Hyman are still far apart when it comes to terms on a deal.
“Sounds like he’s testing the market,” Elliotte Friedman told the FAN 960’s The Big Show. “I heard they were significantly far apart.”
If Hyman didn’t see Nugent-Hopkins’ deal as a sign that the market might only offer him around $5 million, it’s likely he’s looking to cash in big with a team and could be shooting for $6 million or more per season on at least a four-five year deal.
Flyers Still Working Hard on Jones Trade
Expect the trade chatter involving the Flyers and defenseman Seth Jones to continue. The Flyers have been heavily tied to him in rumors and Friedman said, “I do think Philly’s going to do something on the blue line.” The only hold up might be getting a commitment from Jones to stay on an extension. “I think that’s part of the issue, but I’ve heard Philadelphia is working it pretty hard,” he added.
What’s interesting about the Duncan Keith trade talk is that moving Keith gives the Blackhawks room to go for a player like Jones too.
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”