Red Wings: A statistical look at Danny DeKeyser’s season

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It’s no secret that the Detroit Red Wings veteran defenseman, Danny DeKeyser, has had a rough season. For a team that has struggled on defense all season, DeKeyser’s poor play has been especially noticeable among the fanbase. Do the stats back it up?

The Stats

In 42 games this season, Danny DeKeyser has five assists and no goals (with 50 shots on goal). That ranks 20th among the entire team for scoring. According to evolving hockey, the veteran defenseman’s goals above replacement is -8.5 this season (-6.2 expected), and his wins above replacement is -1.5 (-1.1 expected). Not great.

DeKeyser’s possession metrics are just as rough. He has a Corsi-for relative percentage of -8.3 and a Fenwick-for of -8.5. The entire team’s possession metrics are lacking, but DeKeyser’s are especially rough.

Some Context

The stats and the eye test degree: Danny DeKeyser is not having a good year. A few years removed from back surgery, DeKeyser just does not seem as fast and as physical as he was before. Oftentimes, he’s outmatched by opponents on the boards or simply by speeding past. It’s unfortunate, especially considering some of his prior seasons with Detroit, but he just can’t seem to cut it anymore. To make matters worse, these struggles have mostly occurred while paired with the team’s best defenseman, rookie phenom Moritz Seider. DeKeyser’s missteps just seem glaringly obvious when he’s paired with such a talented player.

DeKeyser is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Based on his current performance, this is very likely his last season wearing the winged wheel. Marked as an alternate captain, Danny might be a leader and veteran presence in the locker room, but his play on the ice does not seem to warrant an extension.

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