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Detroit Red Wings

Danny DeKeyser Will Try to Win a Job With the Vancouver Canucks

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Danny DeKeyser, Detroit Red Wings
Danny DeKeyser is trying to reinvent himself in a tryout with the Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks signed Danny DeKeyser to a Professional Tryout Offer (PTO) Friday presumably to see if he can add to their defensive depth.

Vancouver’s current defense consists of Quinn Hughes, Oliver-Ekman Larsson, Tyler Myers, Travis Dermott, Luke Schenn and Kyle Burroughs. The team’s final two defensive spots are unsettled. The Canucks will also be looking at some prospects during training camp.

It’s not unthinkable that a younger defenseman, or a veteran such as DeKeyser, could even win a spot in their top six if they play well in training camp. The Canucks might also trade for a defenseman.

The issue for DeKeyser: he has struggled to regain his full mobility since having back surgery. The Red Wings struggled defensively last season and DeKeyser was the symbol of their failings. The Red Wings even sent him to the American Hockey League, on his March 7 birthday, to get his game back in shape.

DeKeyser, 32, played 10 seasons for Detroit and owns a 44.7 career Corsi rating. The team’s Corsi was 46.0 last season and DeKeyser’s was at 44.0. It was the worst Corsi among Red Wings’ defenseman. Corsi measures shots to determine puck possession while the player is on the ice. His plus-minus was -8 on a team that had Filip Hronek at -29 and Nick Leddy at -33

On the plus side, DeKeyser has played 547 career games. Depending on where his mobility is at after a summer of rest, he could reinvent himself as a pure stay-at-home defenseman. He’s 6-foot-3 and he’s an experienced penalty killer.

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Michigan native DeKeyser knew at the end of the season that he had played his last game in Detroit. He soaked in the atmosphere in Detroit’s final home game.

“It’s been obviously a dream come true to play here,” DeKeyser said. “Growing up all your life with this team and playing 10 years here and coming to the rink every day knowing I’m pretty lucky to be able to play not only in the NHL but for my hometown team as well. So it’s been special for me.”

He was a $5 million player at the end of his career. Now, he will probably feel fortunate if the Canucks or another NHL team offers him a one-year deal for $800,000. He still wants to play. Preseason games are crucial. Opposing GMs sometimes sign players based on how well they played against them.

“I would love to keep playing if I can,” DeKeyser said last April. “I don’t know exactly what’s
gonna happen.”

Training camps are opening in a couple of weeks and he’s still not sure what will happen.