May 23, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith (2) skates against the Detroit Red Wings in game four of the second round for the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

My Wish List, Part 12: Why I Want Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks on the Buffalo Sabres


 

In this edition of my wish list, I break one of my rules.  (It’s okay – they are my rules, after all.)  Normally, I avoid targeting team captains, or alternates, but in this case, I had to turn a blind eye to that regulation, just as I did when I focused my attention on the Los Angeles Kings’ Dustin Brown.  Hey – it happens.

Duncan Keith, Defense

Let’s look at his numbers – always a good place to start.  During the regular season, Keith had 27 points, which would have made him the fourth-highest scorer on the entire Sabres roster.   More importantly – to me, anyway – Keith had 24 assists on the season, which would have made him the number one set-up man on Buffalo’s team this year.  Yep: as a blueliner for the Blackhawks, Keith had more assists than any offensive player on the Sabres.   Sure, sure sure – you can say, “Gee, maybe he got all of those assists because Chicago had the 6th best offense in hockey this year!”  Oh yeah, smartie?  What if Chicago’s offense was the 6th best in hockey BECAUSE of Keith?   Playmakers make people around them better, and Keith creates opportunities for players like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews that they might never get if not for his skills.   If you’re a Buffalo fan, and you DON’T think the Sabres could use a d-man who can provide a boost to our offense, you spent all of last season watching videos of previous years.  Get your head out of the sand!

Keith’s contributions to offense have not diminished now that it’s the playoffs, as he has 10 points, including 9 assists, in fifteen games played.   His 34 shots are 4th-best for a defenseman in these playoffs, so he certainly isn’t afraid to get the puck on net, which, again, is something I wanted to see more from the Sabres’ d-men this season.  Speaking of defense – you know, the position he plays – his hit and blocked shot totals are not off-the-chart, but his plus/minus is always solid (+16 regular season, + 5 playoffs), especially when you consider how much ice time he logs.

And if you’re sick of me looking at his numbers, fine: consider what Kane had to say about how difficult it will be to replace Keith, who is suspended for tonight’s game 4 against the Los Angeles Kings:

“He’s a big a part of our team, obviously. To see stuff like that [the high stick he got on King's forward Jeff Carter] on the ice is scary, but it’s obviously incidental . . . He eats up a lot of ice. He’s a guy that’s in great shape. He never gets tired out there. He’s tireless. Especially on the back end with a guy that can move the puck like that, plays in all situations — power play, penalty kill — it’s a huge part of this team.”

Clearly, Keith means a lot to the Chicago Blackhawks.  He passes and shoots, he logs major ice time, and he makes the players around him better, both on offense (all those assists) and on defense (he’s credited with really helping Brent Seabrook become more physical and assertive this postseason, according to NBC Chicago).  He would have a huge and instant impact on the Buffalo Sabres, which is why he is the member of the Blackhawks I would push the Sabres to try and acquire .

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  • davidmuscalo

    Why would a player with all that talent want to play for the Buffalo Sabres? He would have nothing in common with any of the Sabres except Ott. We will never see that kind of talent in Buffalo until, and if when, we get a first-class team managing the organization. Only Terry can provide that and he hasn’t done it yet. Why he continues to support and employ Regier and Black far beyond my ability to understand the man. He is enigmatic: he emphatically avers that he wants the Sabres to win the Cup multiple times, but he retains a minor-league quality as a management team.

    • Kevin

      You know it may not be TP, he just goes by what his guys tell him. If they DR and Ted Black ran the free agent part of the organization better maybe we could get better players. I don’t buy the reputation thing. if a player is offered enough money he will come. Keep up the good work Rich.

    • http://SabreNoise.com/ Richard Spalding

      Wish list. Whether or not it comes true is not why I write these. Now, I would love to see some of the players I write about play in Buffalo, but writing these is mostly a chance to look around the league and say, “Now there’s a guy the Sabres could use.” It’s for fun, and debate!