The Oilers continue to fail McDavid and Draisaitl

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Duncan Keith

Duncan Keith
Photograph: Getty Pictures

The Edmonton Oilers have arguably the 2 greatest hockey gamers on the planet in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Collectively, the 2 of them have mixed for the final two Hart Trophies and three of the final 5. But regardless of unbelievable efforts from the dynamic duo, the Oilers have by no means lived as much as their expectations. Followers have began to lose hope. Opposing groups have began to look previous Edmonton on their schedules, and if the workforce continues to exit the playoffs early, it’ll solely be a matter of time earlier than McDavid and Draisaitl begin questioning their futures with Edmonton.

The 2021 offseason needed to be unbelievable. It needed to encourage hope. So, the Oilers traded for a soon-to-be 38-year-old defenseman Duncan Keith and took on the whole thing of the $3.6 million left on his contract. Huh? W-what? Why? This doesn’t make any sense regardless of the way you take a look at it. If the Oilers are trying to rebuild, why commerce for a defender who’s regressed every of the final three seasons?

Keith is perhaps a superb locker room presence, however my phrase, is that basically price having a legal responsibility in each facet of the phrase costume for each recreation whereas making nearly $2 million a yr?

Don’t neglect that a number of sturdy defenders had been going to be UFA’s as effectively this offseason. Right here’s a listing of each UFA defender within the upcoming offseason who’s youthful and recorded extra factors than Keith final season:

Ryan Suter, Dougie Hamilton, Alex Goligoski, Alec Martinez, Brandon Montour, Tyson Barrie, Mike Reilly, and Cody Ceci.

There are a number of others as effectively who’re most likely extra environment friendly than Keith has been, regardless of Keith having extra factors. It’s not just like the Oilers don’t have the cap to go after a few of these defensemen. Undoubtedly, the workforce will look to resign Barrie, however even when Barrie had been to demand $6 million per yr — making him one of many 30 highest-paid defenders within the league — the Oilers would nonetheless have over $5 million in cap, greater than sufficient to signal one or two more practical blue liners or forwards to pair with McDavid and Draisaitl.

The defender who Edmonton gave up within the deal for Keith is a median defender. Caleb Jones is just not a game-changer, however he performs stable D and has room to develop. In spite of everything, the man is simply 23 years outdated. So long as McDavid and Draisaitl are sporting Edmonton jerseys, there’s no cause for the Oilers to be in a rebuild mode. The commerce for Keith is a slap within the face to Oilers followers all over the place. It doesn’t assist the workforce, it reduces the cash obtainable to go after free brokers, and it doesn’t give the Oilers somebody who can really put factors on the board to take some weight off the massive two’s shoulders.

There was as soon as a time when a commerce for Keith would make any fan excited. The previous Blackhawk gained three Stanley Cups, an Olympic gold medal, and two Norris trophies throughout his tenure in Chicago, however that point has come and gone. It is a nice deal for Keith (who will get to be nearer to his son now), an important deal for Chicago, and an terrible deal for Edmonton. Might Keith present some depth on the Edmonton bench in a restricted position? Possibly, however that is a gigantic “if” with how Keith has performed the previous few years.

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