It’s time for the Detroit Red Wings to let Danny DeKeyser walk

(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports)
(Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Detroit Red Wings will have to make some crucial decisions as they continue to move through their rebuild. It’s not 100% over, and the team still has some corners to turn, but the Red Wings are going to have to pick and choose who sticks around.

When it comes to the Detroit Red Wings defense core, some changes are going to be made, especially knowing that the arrival of Simon Edvinsson is possibly going to happen in the 2022-23 season.

Even though that is next season and the focus should be on the 2021-22 season, some moves need to be made. Danny DeKeyser is a prime example of this and a tough decision that could be on the horizon.

DeKeyser is in the last season of his six-year, $30 million contract that carries a $5 million annual value, and things are not looking so great. He is not the same player that he used to be, and after ten years with the Red Wings, he may be on his way out.

Detroit Red Wings need to let Danny DeKeyser walk after the 2021-22 season.

DeKeyser has been a part of the team’s defense core for such a long time, but he’s not performing at a level where the Red Wings are going to need him to be. The Red Wings will need to see improvements in the back end, and DeKeyser’s level of play is not the best.

Injuries have been a detriment to his performance in recent years, and while he’s been back on the ice more often these past two seasons, things are not great. While he has never been an incredible point-scoring defenseman who’s chasing a Norris Trophy, he put together some quality seasons in his early days.

After being signed, the former Western Michigan Broncos defenseman is a shell of the player he was. In 2021-22, DeKeyser has 34 games played with just three assists to his credit. He’s a minus-8 and is not really looking like some stud defensive defender.

There’s an excuse to be made for keeping him around if he is going to be a lockdown defensive defender like Karl Alzner from the former Washington Capitals teams, where he provided help on special teams and was solid in the defensive zone overall. He’s not showing that right now, though.

Some people’s opinions may vary, but from what I see, the Red Wings are better served using other players to fill that role and let DeKeyser walk. He gave ten seasons to the Red Wings organization, but finding a younger and better option for the defensive defenseman role might be best.

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Even if someone like Gustav Lindström rises to the occasion and is that guy, time will tell. But when the 2021-22 season comes to an end, sending a contract extension over to DeKeyser is something I would not do if I were Steve Yzerman. That’s my couch-GM opinion for today.