If the Flyers had beaten the Blackhawks in the 2010 Stanley Cup Final, how would Chicago's dynasty have changed?
Would it have ever started?
The 2010 Cup marked the Blackhawks' first of three championships from 2010 to 2015.
Duncan Keith played 29 minutes per game and put up seven points in six matchups with the Flyers during the 2010 Cup Final. He has gone on to play 15 seasons in Chicago, winning those three Cups, two James Norris Memorial Trophies (top defenseman) and the 2015 Conn Smythe honor (MVP of the playoffs).
Apparently his career with the Blackhawks came close to never starting. To boot, he was almost a Flyer.
In a terrific piece published Thursday by The Athletic's Mark Lazerus, Mike Smith, the former Chicago general manager, detailed how Bob Pulford, also a former Blackhawks GM, nearly traded Keith to the Flyers, when the 2002 second-round pick was a prospect in the AHL, one season during which was the NHL lockout.
Here's how it could have gone down, per Smith's account in Lazerus' article:
Now, Smith calls this a 'grapevine thing,' so take it with a grain of salt. But to him, it's a perfect example of how right he was for the job, and how wrong Pulford was. The way Smith tells it, Pulford was this close to trading then-prospect Duncan Keith to the Flyers, packaging him with three other players to bring 34-year-old Jeremy Roenick and 34-year-old Tony Amonte back to Chicago in the twilight of their careers.
In Lazerus' piece, you can read what apparently stopped the deal from ever coming to fruition.
Bob Clarke was the Flyers' GM at the time. That would have been quite some swing by the club legend.
Let's not forget, the Flyers had a strong season during 2003-04, notching 101 points and taking the Lightning to seven games in the Eastern Conference Final. Roenick and Amonte were big contributors on that team. But they were at the tail end of their respective careers. They never played for the Flyers again after the lockout. Roenick went on to play 239 more games between three different teams and Amonte finished his career in Calgary with two more seasons.
Keith made his NHL debut in 2005-06, became an All-Star in 2007-08 and won his first Cup in 2010 ... against the Flyers.
Oh, how things could have changed. Maybe Keith would have put some good Flyers teams over the top.