Detroit Red Wings: Danny DeKeyser needs big return in 2020-21 season

(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports)
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings need a strong 2020-21 campaign from defenseman Danny DeKeyser in 2020-21 in his return to the ice.

The Detroit Red Wings are shelling out $5 million over each of the next two seasons to pay defenseman Danny DeKeyser who is playing out the last two years of his contract. Back in 2016, DeKeyser signed a six-year, $30 million contract ahead of the 2016-17 season.

The product of the Western Michigan hockey program, which is currently in the NCHC Pod in Omaha, originally signed with the team back in 2013. The eight-year veteran of the NHL has not fully lived up to the hype of his six-year contract.

He has never eclipsed ten goals and has only crossed the 30-point threshold once. Which may be fine if he is strictly a defensive defenseman, but it was initially thought he could provide some scoring upside.

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The Red Wings are already shelling out $5.7 million to Marc Staal, who was acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers, including a sweetener to give the organization more draft capital.

DeKeyser comes in second on the spending list at $5 million and surely is not playing to that level.

A back injury kept him off the ice for the 2019-20 season after playing only eight games, logging just four assists for the Red Wings.

While he is healthy once again and looking to return to the ice sooner than later, not so fast, he may still have a tough year ahead of him.

This 2020-21 season will be make or break for DeKeyser, who in his last “full” season campaign, logged 52 games where he scored five goals and tallied 15 assists for 20 total points in 2018-19 for the Red Wings.

Looking more in-depth than the goals and assists, DeKeyser’s Corsi ratings are nothing to write home about. However, he did have positive Corsi ratings in the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, which is nice considering the downturn the Red Wings have been on during this rebuild.

He is a career -1.9 Corsi For rating, which is not ideal, but given the recent struggles that DeKeyser has played through, it is not entirely shocking. But he needs work; he will have to come out in 2020-21 and make a statement.

Be mindful of DeKeyser’s performance; he may not always be all over the scoresheet, but if he can find his way on there AND play quality hockey, that $5 million pill to swallow is not so bad. Especially given the Red Wings have plenty of cap space while making cost-effective signings.

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The Detroit Red Wings should be pushing Danny DeKeyser to play with a chip on his shoulder and prove that the veteran defender can be an asset to this teams’ defense and find ways to contribute to the offense.