According to multiple reports, including James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail, the Detroit Red Wings have signed Danny DeKeyser to a six-year, $30MM extension ahead of his arbitration hearing set for Thursday. The young defenseman is thought of as an integral part of the Red Wings’ core, and will now be paid like one.
DeKeyser, 26, has been a regular on the Wings’ blueline for three seasons now, playing over twenty minutes a night and contributing at least 20 points each year. His best came in 2014-15, when he put up 31 points and had his best possession metrics of his career.
The Michigan native went undrafted before attending Western Michigan University, where he excelled over three seasons. Upon his exit from the NCAA, DeKeyser had many suitors, seen as a strong two-way option that could step into an NHL lineup immediately. He proved that true when he signed with the Red Wings, getting into 11 games down the stretch in 2012-13.
While DeKeyser doesn’t get much love from the analytic community because of his relatively poor possession numbers, he does get continually praised from his coaching staff and front office, with former Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock referring to him as a “human eraser” and saying he’s an elite skater with an elite hockey mind.
Detroit now has six defensemen under contract for a total of $24.2MM next season. While they project to currently be over the salary cap, CapFriendly points out that the team still has the ability to sign Petr Mrazek because of the 10% overage a team can use before the end of training camp. With the team set to take him to arbitration on Wednesday, they’ll try to get a contract on the books before any blood is spilled in the arbitration room.