Danny Dekeyser Signs Six-Year Deal

With the arbitration hearing between the Detroit Red Wings and restricted free agent defenseman Danny DeKeyser scheduled for July 28th, the two parties came together before, agreeing on a six-year, $30 million ($5 million AAV) deal today.

Danny Dekeyser Signs Six-Year Deal

The Detroit native signed his previous contract with Detroit 18 days before the regular season started in September, 2014. It paid him nearly $2.2 million per season the past two campaigns. The new deal is a very substantial raise for a young staple in Detroit’s top four. He has held the position for the better part of his 234-game career.

Dekeyser is will be turning 26 this season and is coming off of an interesting year. He scored a career-high eight goals but putting up a career low 20 points, logging a career-high 21:48 per game. Usually paired with the durable and reliable Kyle Quincey (15.34% frequency, most on team) as the shutdown tandem, the latter missed almost half the season due to injury. This led to Dekeyser mostly having to play with Jonathan Ericsson (9.35%) and cover for many of his mistakes in his own zone (61 giveaways, career and team high). Both were one-two on defense logging minutes for Detroit’s 14th ranked penalty kill (81.5%). Dekeyser led the pack at 209:30 TOI, making 31 blocks and turning the puck over just four times shorthanded compared to Ericsson’s 13.

Cap Space and Remaining Moves

The whole Red Wing defense seemed to struggle at adapting to new head coach Jeff Blashill’s system as the entire blueline combined posted a 49% CF% outside of Brendan Smith, Mike Green, and Jakub Kindl, who were analytics darlings (56.1% CF% combined). One of these three should be playing way more but that’s for another time. All of these scenarios played into Dekeyser’s possession rating dropping to a career-low 48.5% CF%.

As for offensive totals taking a dip, the Wings dropped 13 spots from last year in terms of goals for. They poted 22 less markers than the previous season and boasted just two 20-goal scorers up front. The killer instinct was not there for the team, as they were involved in over 50 one-goal contests and are hoping new signees Frans Nielsen and Thomas Vanek will be able to add another dimension and convert on scoring chances created from the back-end.

The Home Town Connection

An undrafted and once highly sought after college free agent, Dekeyser is one of four hometown Red Wings on the roster (Dylan Larkin, Justin Abdelkader, Luke Glendening) and often considered as one of the best defensive-minded blue liners on the team. Is he overpaid at $5 million for a player who has only passed 30 points once so far? Yes, but it’s clear that they look at him as a pillar for their future on the blueline. There is room to grow for him yet on an aging core. With Quincey departing for free agency, he will be heavily leaned on even more as Ericsson, 32, and Niklas Kronwall, 35, regress. Dekeyser, Xavier Ouellet, Brendan Smith, Alexey Marchenko, and others will be key in replenishing Detroit’s blueline as much as a possible trade as the team continues in transition.

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