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Danny Dekeyser is Finally Living Up to That Contract, When Healthy

 02/04/2019 - 02:26

Two years ago, a lot of Detroit Red Wings fans turned on Danny Dekeyser. The former golden boy free agent, a Michigan native and Western Michigan University alumni, was the toast of Hockeytown when he spurned all other offers, chose Detroit, and immediately earned a starting job with the Red Wings.

But then the 6'3 defenseman got paid.-- a six-year, $30 million deal. With that pay came higher expectations.

And suddenly, really awful and anemic play at both ends of the ice.

Dekeyser had been known as a big, rangy, smooth-skating defenseman who made a nice first pass and who had an active stick which he used to his advantage in the d-zone.

But as the contract started, Dekeyser slumped. He went from 8-12-20 +2 to 4-8-12 -22. Only Dylan Larkin and  Riley.Sheahan had a worse plus-minus.

His underlying numbers dropped, too. His CF% went from 53.78 to 46.10. 

The Wings were sliding to the NHL basement. So, to noone's surprise, the minute munchers saw their stats take a dive. But even among Red Wings' defensemen, Dekeyser's stats were worrisome.

He had the worst CF% on the defense. By far, he had the worst GF% at 41.13. His goals against/60 was an astronimical 3.01 at 5 on 5.

And offensively, his .41 points/60 was awful, eclipsed easily by luminaries like Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet, Nick Jensen and Ryan Sproul.

Dekeyser stablized his game last year. He rose his CF% to 49.32 -- third best on the defense behind Jensen and Ouellet. He stablized his GF%, raising it to 50 - best on the defense.

His offense improved slightly to .53 points/60 - which ranked him better than Jonathan Ericsson and Trevor Daley.

But this year? Let's start by saying his CF% remains unchanged. 49.35 percent is still third on the team, behind Jensen and Filip Hronek.

But here's the first big improvement. Dekeyser's GF% is 64.10 - best on the Wings defense. 64.1 percent is a terrific number.

Here's the second big surprise. Dekeyser has nearly tripled his offensive production to 1.46 points/60 - behind only Mike Green. These are 5-on-5 numbers and don't even include his OT winner from the Toronto game.

So here's Dekeyser's points/60 since 13-14.

Season Total Points/60
20132014 0.84
20142015 0.97
20152016 0.66
20162017 0.41
20172018 0.53
20182019 1.46


And his GF%

Season GF%
20132014 56.52
20142015 55.32
20152016 46.59
20162017 41.13
20172018 50
20182019 64.1

Dekeyser has only played 26 games. So there's that. But in those 26 games, he's been great. The Red Wings are 12-10-4 when Dekeyser is in the lineup - not a great record, but respectable. But if you wipe out his first six games, the Wings are 12-6-2.

Dekeyser's most common partners have been Jensen and Dennis Cholowski.

He's played 292 minutes with Jensen at 5 on 5. The team has scored 18 goals and given up just seven when paired. Their CF is slightly under 50 percent.

Same kind of CF numbers with Cholowski, with a 3-vs-3 goal differential.



Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is the operator of RedWingsNow. He is editor, publisher and founder of The Saline Post. He is also founder of Michigan Ball Hockey.

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