Detroit Red Wings: It’s last call for Danny DeKeyser

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The Vancouver Canucks signed former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser to a pro tryout ahead of training camp.

DeKeyser, 32, will look to crack Vancouver’s lineup as a sixth or seventh defender after spending ten seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. DeKeyser never really lived up to his overall expectations during his time with Detroit; injuries took their toll, and he proved to be a steady defensive-minded, stay-at-home NHL defenseman.

The once staple in Detroit’s top-four suffered a back injury that required surgery in 2019; since then, he’s been unable to regain his old form. The once fleet-footed, DeKeyser has lost a step, limiting his overall mobility, which had been one of his strengths. Retirement appeared to be the only logical destination, but DeKeyser will take one more kick at the can, feeling he’s got a bit more hockey left in him.

Last season, DeKeyser appeared in 59 games, with the Red Wings totaling 11 assists and failed to score a goal. Former Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill often paired DeKeyser with rookie Moritz Seider. Although, in theory, this seemed like a wise decision, DeKeyser’s diminishing skill-set didn’t do Seider any favors.

Seider would go on to win the Calder Trophy awarded to the league’s top rookie. Red Wings fans saw how well Seider performed last season; imagine how well he’d perform with an improved defense partner. The free agent additions of Ben Chiarot and Olli Mattaa on the left side will certainly improve Detroit’s depth chart in 2022-23.

Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser looks to earn a spot in Vancouver.

DeKeyser joined the Detroit Red Wings as an undrafted free agent out of Western Michigan back in 2013. He’d totaled 146 points over 547 career games in his ten seasons with Detroit.

When looking across Vancouver’s current depth chart, there is a good chance that DeKeyer makes a realistic bid to earn a roster spot heading into the regular season.

As it stands, the Canucks top four defenders are Quinn Hughes, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Tyler Myers, Luke Schenn, Travis Dermott, and Kyle Burroughs. As you can see, the top three are very reliable, but Vancouver’s bottom three will be an open competition.

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