Red Wings: Why Keeping Danny DeKeyser Makes Sense

Explaining why Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser makes sense for the roster in its current state.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser is signed at $5 million per season for the next two seasons, that’s why he makes sense for this team.

In all seriousness, DeKeyser is the perfect bridge defenseman for the Red Wings as general manager Steve Yzerman navigates his way through a mess of a rebuild left by a 25-year long playoff streak and generous, bloated contracts offered by former general manager Ken Holland.

DeKeyser was lost after eight games this past season due to back surgery and was missed as a stable blue liner who could hold his own.

His role will not change next season – or this season – if the NHL resumes following the March postponement due to COVID-19. His mindset might need to, though.

Despite being only 30, time, experience and roster makeup/future turnover have positioned DeKeyser as a veteran on a team that lacks experience.

With guys like Filip Hronek, Gustav Lindström, Dennis Cholowski and Mortiz Seider vying for roster spots during the 2020-21 season, DeKeyser will be the defenseman who helps mold them.

For the record, this article is written the way it is because DeKeyser isn’t a dumpster fire like Justin Abdelkader. Abdelkader’s contract is only slightly worse at $4.25 million per year through the 2022-23 season, but Yzerman will buy that contract out.

That’s not the case with DeKeyser’s deal. DeKeyser is serviceable, despite the steep length and financials of his salary. He has the perfect combination of years left on contract, skill set and experience to be a nice bridge defenseman and mentor for the team as they begin to become competitive again.

Then, when his contract expires at the end of the 2021-22 season, he’ll look to take a backseat to some of the defensemen previously mentioned, signing a more cap-friendly deal to stay in Michigan, where he’s been his entire college and professional hockey career.