A lot of emotions going on here. Time is such a sonofabitch. Sharp, Hossa, Seabrook, and now Duncan Keith. I will do a full Duncan Keith blog in the next 24 hours to pay him proper tribute because he deserves it. For now though let's just break down this trade.
Like I said in the video and thousands of other places in the last several years...I think Stan Bowman stinks. I always do my best to tell the truth and the truth is he knocked it out of the park with this trade. Everything was stacked against Stan here. Duncan Keith has a full no-movement clause so he could veto any trade. He wanted to be close to his home in British Columbia while also playing for a good team. That basically eliminated EVERY possible team with the exception of the Oilers. So with the Oilers holding the Hawks over a barrel essentially, Bowman got an NHL caliber young defenseman, a decent level draft pick, and didn't have to eat any of Duncan Keith's salary to make it happen.
I've seen a little of Caleb Jones over the years. I like him. I think he still has some untapped potential and can help this team right away.
Jones can skate pretty well and moves the puck up. Definitely has good skill and size at over 6ft and like 200lbs. He played 33 games for the Oilers in 2021 and only had 4 assists. It's a little confusing that his skill doesn't seem to match his production. He also didn't crack the lineup in the playoffs for Edmonton. I think you all know that have some issues with "hockey analytics", but his underlying data is pretty good. He has good composure with the puck under pressure. Doesn't get rattled easily or throw it away that often. Uses his feet and his brain to create space and makes pretty good decisions. There's a lot to like there. He's not a Norris guy, but I think he has more to his game than we've seen.
Edmonton didn't give him a ton of minutes. He played mostly as a 3rd pair guy for the Oilers. Most of his shifts were with Ethan Bear and Adam Larsson and then come playoff time Dave Tippett went in a different direction as the Oilers got smoked in the first round again. Jones is known as a good kid. Good head on his shoulders. Works hard. Well-rounded player and person. It is surprising that he didn't get a single game in that playoff series vs Winnipeg. That playoff series where Jones didn't play was probably at least part of the motivation for this move.
The other motivating factor for Edmonton moving Caleb Jones is that there was a pretty decent chance they'd lose him for nothing in the expansion draft to Seattle. Now they get a grizzled Stanley Cup champion to play in their top 4 who will DEFINITELY come in with a chip on his shoulder because that is how Keith is wired. The Oilers won't be getting 2015 Conn Smythe Duncan Keith, but I'd bet anything they'll get a better version of Keith than we saw under Jeremy Colliton.
The motivating factors for the Blackhawks are obvious too. They did right by Duncan Keith who wanted to be closer to his family. They added a draft asset, cleared some cap room, and...
I really do genuinely like Caleb Jones as a player and I think he has potential to grow into an every night NHL defenseman for a good team. Having said that, there is no denying that the most attractive thing about Caleb Jones is that it could lead to a trade for his brother, Seth. If the only result of this trade is a contract extension for Zadorov I will puke my guts out, but the thought of a defense corps that looks like the following is exciting
de Haan - Seth Jones
Stillman - Murphy
Caleb Jones - Mitchell/Boqvist(I think one of them gets traded and the other is in the lineup. Also...for balance/complimentary skillsets Caleb is probably a better partner for Murphy than Stillman, but whatever).
So yeah, an incredible haul for Keith. They got a nice looking young player who should make the NHL roster on opening night, draft capital, and financial flexibility. The only thing it cost them was the heart, soul, and engine of the Dynasty. A bitter pill to swallow, but it makes me feel better than this is what Duncan Keith reportedly wanted and it is a more favorable end to his time here than what we saw with Hossa, Sharp, and Seabrook.
The first big domino of the summer has fallen. Buckle up. It's going to be a white knuckle offseason in every way imaginable