Detroit Red Wings: Danny DeKeyser needs big turnaround in 2021-22

(Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports)
(Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings signed defenseman Danny DeKeyser to a six-year, $30 million contract back in 2016. Ahead of the 2016-17 season, it seemed that DeKeyser was going to spend his career being a middle-of-the-pack defender.

It seemed that he would be able to be an exceptional player in the defensive zone and add some much-needed offense from the blueline. The Detroit Red Wings rewarded him with a $5 million average annual value (AAV) contract that runs out after the 2021-22 season comes to a close.

Since his contract extension, DeKeyser has not quite been the defender that they thought they signed. However, the Red Wings have continued to send him out there and hope he can find that offense.

He has topped out at 20 total points in a season but never crossed the threshold since signing his new contract with the Red Wings. Not to mention that injuries have been a problem, keeping DeKeyser off the ice several times.

Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser needs to be better in a contract year.

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When the 2021-22 season comes to an end, DeKeyser will be an unrestricted free agent and be free to sign wherever he desires.

I am not totally against signing him back; there would need to be a price decrease on the cap hit.

$5 million is not too bad, the Red Wings can afford it, but I think there would need to be a decrease when the team can go get players that are better than DeKeyser for a lower or similar price.

While there are such things as a defensive defenseman, I’m not discounting that, but it seems like $5 million for a defensive defenseman who cannot contribute much of anything offensively is steep.

In 2020-21, DeKeyser played 47 games where he had four goals and eight assists for 12 points overall. An injury delayed the start of his season, so in 2021-22 he should be able to get back to the 20-point and higher threshold.

With injuries hampering the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons that were already cut short due to the pandemic, it’s hard to know what DeKeyser could be doing offensively. But, with what he has shown, he has to be better this season.

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The Red Wings should be expecting improvement in the final year of his contract. If he wants to earn a call back to play for his hometown Red Wings once again, then he needs to find himself on the scoresheet more and not be a pylon defensively.