Is Michigan State’s Defensemen Duncan Keith a Future Blackhawk Winger?

By Bill Placzek

No one doubts how well the almost six foot Duncan Keith his skating. He gets going quick and out- distances the guys around him. At Penticton Jr A he had a hefty 64 assists to go with his 18 goals, so he certainly displays skill, touch and instinct to carry the biscuit, jump into the plays from the defensemen position.

The question is would he actually be able to make it as an NHL defensemen at his size and strength. He doesn’t project to grow past six foot.
Could general manager Mike Smith have drafted him with the idea of him converting to a wing?

That might be very possible, for he certainly has pure speed and agility to create as an winger. He has not yet adjusted to the less free wheeling style of collegiate and has trouble with handling traffic as a college defensemen.

Sometimes players are chosen for their character, skills, and determination, and can be projected to another position as possible pros.
I wonder if that is what Hawk general manager Mike Smith had in mind by making him the Hawk second round pick.

I realize that the undersized defenseman has chiseled a place in the new NHL transition game and that this young man has the tools to be a Ballard/Bouwmeester type offensively creative player. I also understand you cannot teach speed, and Keith has an abundance of it. I just don’t know if he can make it on the backline. Steve McCarthy is an early defensemen pick we are already waiting to see handle the big men in the NHL. Can the Blackhawk defense have room for two? Or was he picked to play elsewhere?