What’s next for Detroit Red Wings’ Danny DeKeyser after clearing waivers

Detroit Free Press

As expected, veteran Danny DeKeyser went unclaimed and remains in the Detroit Red Wings’ organization.

Placing him on waivers Monday, coinciding with DeKeyser’s 32nd birthday, was necessary because the Wings needed to open room on the 23-man roster to activate Jakub Vrana. He was cleared to play Tuesday, after being out since training camp with a shoulder injury.

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“I don’t think anybody likes getting waived,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “Ultimately we’re in a business where you have to make hard business decisions and that one was made.”

DeKeyser, an alternate captain, had six points and a minus-12 rating in 43 games. The Wings announced DeKeyser, who played Saturday at Florida, has been placed on injured reserve.

DeKeyser rose from a free-agent signing in the spring of 2013 to being a workhorse as a shutdown defenseman. But a back injury in the fall of 2019 forced him to undergo major back surgery that December, and DeKeyser hasn’t been able to regain his form. He was waived last season, too.

“Danny has been an excellent pro,” Blashill said. “He has done an excellent job for the Detroit Red Wings over a long period of time. Very, very underrated within our fan base on the impact he’s had here.

“He’s worked extraordinarily hard at trying to get his back back to a spot where he can be play to the level he was prior to that. He’s in the weight room longer than anybody. I’ve got enormous respect for Danny as a person, as a player.”

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DeKeyser was squeezed out on the defense corps by the addition of Olli Juolevi, a former first-round pick who general manager Steve Yzerman claimed off waivers Sunday. Juolevi put the Wings at eight defensemen, giving Yzerman flexibility if he trades Nick Leddy or Troy Stecher by the March 21 deadline.

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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