5. Vegas Golden Knights
Who would have ever thought that in year two of a franchise’s existence, that a team would be buyers at the trade deadline with aspirations of winning the Stanley Cup? Well every person that follows the NHL would have thought that because in year one that was also the case. In fact, they were buyers at the deadline and they ended up rolling all the way through the Western Conference to get the Stanley Cup Final.
After losing to the Washington Capitals in five games in the Final, Vegas has been right back at it this season. They look like a force in the Western Conference and should find themselves in position to make an attempt at another run at hockey’s top prize.
They have depth up front and do all their scoring by committee which is one of the main pillars of their success. Along with scoring by committee, they also defend by committee. They do not have that true Norris caliber defenseman like most cup contenders, but they have plenty of guys capable of getting the job done at different points.
This could be where Duncan Keith comes in for them. They have some great players on the back end like Nate Schmidt, Shea Theodore, Deryk Engelland, and Colin Miller. Now imagine that core with Keith. He could definitely add to the depth and be a difference maker on any given night. In Vegas, he would probably find himself on either the top pair or the second pair and either way he would be put in a position to succeed.
So now that we see where Keith would fit in on Vegas the question is what would the Blackhawks want in exchange for him? Vegas has so many draft picks at their disposal over the next few years. That is largely due to doing a great job at the expansion draft at acquiring assets while icing a competitive team right away. They have their first rounder available to trade and they also have three third-round picks as well. If they are truly going for it again this season, they should have no problem moving one of those thirds and their first.
Vegas’ top prospect is defenseman Erik Brannstrom. It is unlikely that they will move him, but their second and third prospects could be in play at the deadline if they decide to go that route. Nick Suzuki and Cody Glass are both centers that would fit into the Blackhawks prospect pool nicely and be guys that could take that next step as soon as next season. One would think that one of them combined with one of those thirds or the first round pick would be a good enough package for the Blackhawks to move on from Keith.
It would be a tough sight to see Keith in a different uniform, but if anything similar to these proposals came to fruition the Blackhawks brass should really look into it, as the future is just as important as the present.