Detroit Red Wings waive Danny DeKeyser — on his birthday — to clear room for Jakub Vrana

Detroit Free Press

Veteran defenseman and alternate captain Danny DeKeyser was placed on waivers Monday (his 32nd birthday), clearing the way for a roster spot for Vrana.

Coach Jeff Blashill didn’t have a “definite answer” after Monday’s practice, but Vrana practiced on a line with Pius Suter and Robby Fabbri.

The Wings (24-26-6) play the Arizona Coyotes at Little Caesars Arena.

READ MORE: How Jakub Vrana can help Wings prove something over final stretch

“We’re just moving around different spots in the lineup,” Blashill said. “I really don’t know who is going to play tomorrow and who is not, and what our lines are going to look like. We looked at some different stuff today. I’m not sure that’s how we’re going to go at all.”

DeKeyser went unclaimed when he was waived in February 2021, and is certain to go unclaimed again this time. Last year he remained with the team, but was assigned to the taxi squads that were permitted because of the pandemic. Should the Wings assign DeKeyser to the Grand Rapids Griffins, they’d need somebody else to wear an ‘A’ — veteran forward Sam Gagner is a logical candidate.

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The Wings still have eight defensemen, with Sunday’s addition of Olli Juolevi off waivers.

DeKeyser has six points, all assists, and a minus-12 rating in 43 games. He underwent major back surgery in December 2019, and while he returned to action in 2021, his play has deteriorated. He is in the last year of his contract, and doesn’t figure into the team’s future. In his prime, DeKeyser was a solid shut-down defenseman, and one of the team’s top workhorses.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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