Detroit Red Wings place defenseman Danny DeKeyser on waivers
Detroit – Danny DeKeyser hadn’t played and was recovering from an off-season disc herniation, but still didn’t see this coming.
The Red Wings did without the experienced defender on Sunday in a somewhat surprising move.
The 30-year-old DeKeyser underwent surgery for a herniated disc early last year, which limited him to just eight games.
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Given the severity of the operation and DeKeyser’s age, as well as the lack of actual hockey games in the calendar year that goes this season, expected a difficult return this season.
However, the transition was more difficult than expected.
DeKeyser struggled to get back in shape this season. While playing 10 games this season, DeKeyser has one goal and no assists with a minus one score while playing about 15 minutes per game (about six less than his career average).
DeKeyser has been a healthy scratch (but not exactly healthy) for the last six games.
“Danny is available to play,” said coach Jeff Blashill recently, as DeKeyser is unable to crack the line-up. “Right now it’s a manager’s decision, but it’s not like we have a 100% Danny DeKeyser.” He is recovering from the surgery.
“Danny is recovering from a major operation that took him longer than any of us and especially him. He played with little strength in his one leg and so he played the first six games or so.
“We made the decision to go with other people now because Danny is not 100%, not close.”
DeKeyser is an unmanned free agent based out of Warren De La Salle and West Michigan. He’s from Macomb. DeKeyser quickly became one of the Wings’ most trusted defenders when he signed with his hometown team.
DeKeyser has played 451 games in his NHL career, all with the wings, and has 30 goals and 94 assists for 124 points with a plus-8-plus-minus rating.
But DeKeyser’s future with the wings looks hazy now.
DeKeyser has a $ 5 million cap hit this season and next. DeKeyser signed a six-year deal worth $ 30 million ahead of the 2016-17 season.
If DeKeyser approves the exemptions he is likely to do given the money owed, the Wings could assign him to the taxi squad or the Grand Rapids Griffins where he could try to get back to full health.
The Red Wings team, returning to Little Caesars Arena on Monday after a six-game road trip, is nothing like the one that started that trip.
The wings have forward Robby Fabbri, Sam Win, Adam Erne and Filip Zadinaand defense attorney Jon Merrill All have returned from the COVID-19 protocol and have had a positive impact on the road trip at different times.
goalkeeper Jonathan Bernier returned from an upper body injury on Saturday and had a big hand in beating Nashville 4-2.
Above all, this Wings team is playing with the defensive structure that Blashill believes is necessary if the wings are to be competitive this season.
The Wings only won two out of six games on the trip, but after opening with a lousy loss to Tampa Bay, they played well enough to have earned points in each of the games.
“You look at the Boston Bruins and every year they are one of the under-scoring teams. They have some talented players and you consider them an offensive team, but what they really are is really stingy defensively,” said Blashill. “That is certainly our recipe for success. When you do a good job, you find that you get more insults, you create transition opportunities, and you have more puck, and those are things that cause more insults.
“Boys understand that and are absolutely thrilled. We just have to build on it. “
Bernier believes the wings have been effective since the start of the season.
“We had a good start to the season and when we lost all of these guys (through the COVID protocol) it seemed to take a lot away from us,” said Bernier. “But our last four or five games have been pretty good. We just have to keep doing the right things and good things will happen. “
Luke Glendening returned to the line-up on Saturday and had his best three-point game (one goal, two assists).
“I don’t think a lot of people see what he’s doing out there. They get all the little details right like blocking shots, great faceoff guy. It’s really hard to play against him every night,” said Bernier .
… Tyler Bertuzzi (Upper body) missed the entire six-game road trip and Blashill wasn’t sure Bertuzzi would be ready to return to the ice this week.
… Fabbri has scored goals in three of the last four games and has recovered well from the virus that hit Fabbri as hard as any player who has had it.
“He’s competed, and when he competes he’s at his best and using his skills,” said Blashill. “I was a bit tough for him after that (Fabbri’s first game back). The reality is, it was asking a lot of him. “
Blackhawks at Red Wings
► Allusion: Monday, 7:30 p.m., Little Caesars Arena, Detroit
► TV / radio: Fox Sports Detroit / 97.1 FM
► Outlook: Chicago (7-5-4) won a two-game series from the Red Wings (4-10-2) earlier this season. … Chicago have won four of their last five games, three of them in overtime… RW Patrick Kane has an MVP season (seven goals, 22 points).