With all the things on Detroit GM Ken Holland’s plate — Pavel Datsyuk‘s departure, the draft, pending free agency — some things have been pushed to the backburner.
Like Danny DeKeyser‘s new contract, for example.
“We haven’t really gotten a whole lot into it,” DeKeyser said yesterday, per MLive. “We had just one talk or something like that. I’m sure talks will get moving more towards the end of the month or into July as we get going.”
DeKeyser, 26, is in the last of a two-year, $4.375 million deal with a $2.18M average annual cap hit. He’s also a pending RFA, and Holland has traditionally put those club-controlled contracts lower on his offseason priority charts.
But that doesn’t meant DeKeyser isn’t important. Or intriguing.
He’s a key part of Detroit’s blueline — and a relatively young part, which is key given the ages of Niklas Kronwall (35) Jonathan Ericsson (32) and Mike Green (30). DeKeyser’s also proven to be a pretty solid puck mover. That was on display in ’14-15, when he racked up a career-high 29 assists, finishing fourth on the team (and second only to Kronwall among Wings d-men) in helpers.
DeKeyser’s defensive game is also valued, as he’s often utilized by head coach Jeff Blashill in a shutdown role.
“He is, I think, consistently a good defender,” Blashill told the Free Press last season. “He always has good gaps, he has got a good defensive stick.”
In light of all this, it’s pretty clear DeKeyser’s in line for a nice raise. One wonders if he’ll score a similar payday to the likes of Sami Vatanen (four years, $19.5 million from Anaheim) or Jared Spurgeon (four years, $20.75 million from Minnesota).