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Detroit Red Wings Player Preview: Danny DeKeyser

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The Red Wings desperately need DeKeyser to return to his human eraser form...but can he do it?

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Detroit Red Wings Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Profile

Birthday: March 7, 1990

Birthplace: Macomb, MI

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 192 lbs.

Shoots: Left

Drafted: Undrafted

Contract: 5yr/$25M remaining

Last Season’s Performance

You would be hard pressed to find anyone, including Danny DeKeyser himself, who would not say last season did not go well for #65. He recorded career lows in just about every category while recording a career high in ice time and being asked to carry the Red Wings blue line as its defacto top pairing defenseman.

standard NHL career statistics
Scor Scor Scor Shot Shot Shot Ice Ice
Season GP G A PTS +/- PIM S S% TSA TOI ATOI HIT BLK TK GV
2012-13 11 0 1 1 4 2 15 0.0 27 199 18:03 9 9 5 6
2013-14 65 4 19 23 10 30 84 4.8 172 1407 21:38 64 116 13 36
2014-15 80 2 29 31 11 42 89 2.2 217 1674 20:56 74 88 14 38
2015-16 78 8 12 20 2 44 72 11.1 145 1701 21:48 88 107 17 38
2016-17 82 4 8 12 -22 33 85 4.7 177 1800 21:57 100 170 16 45
Career 316 18 69 87 5 151 345 5.2 738 6780 21:27 335 490 65 163
Provided by Hockey-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/29/2017.

Some of the drop could be pinned on a rotating pairing partner and a generally inconsistent at best Red Wings offense. Some could also be pinned to the Red Wings putting DeKeyser in a role that his skill level would not allow him to be successful in (i.e. playing top pairing minutes against top pairing competition).

This Season’s Expectations

While it would be in both the interest of both the Red Wings and DeKeyser if Danny’s 2017-18 season saw him log the type of minutes he did during the 2014-15 season, it appears 2017-18 will be very similar to 2016-17. He will once again be asked to shoulder top line minutes against the opposing team’s best players. It will likely not be a complete exercise in insanity however, as the team has already stated that they will look to pair newly acquired defenseman Trevor Daley with DeKeyser on the top pair. Daley’s ability to rush up ice with the puck should help take some of the offensive pressure off DeKeyser and allow him to work on getting back to being, as Babcock once said, one of the best defensemen from the red line back into his own zone. While I do not expect him to necessarily reach 30+ points again, I think he is capable of putting up more than the 12 he did last year. More importantly, I do expect that he can return to the calm and collected in his own zone defenseman we saw in the first few seasons instead of the turn over prone ball of nerves we saw last season. With four more years at five million a year left on his deal after this upcoming season, it is extremely important that DeKeyser does just that this season.