Jul 28, 2014, 10:56 AM EDT
“There won’t be any problems,” DeKeyser said of his contractual status with Detroit, per MLive.com. “It’ll be done before camp. So, no one needs to worry about that.”
Detroit has always been notoriously slow on re-inking its restricted free agents, often letting negotiations stretch deep into the summer (last year, Gustav Nyquist didn’t sign until Aug. 20). Of Detroit’s three RFAs this offseason, only one — Riley Sheahan — has inked a deal, agreeing to a two-year, $1.9 million extension on July 1; Tomas Tatar and DeKeyser still remain unsigned.
That said, it’s obvious that retaining DeKesyer is important. The 24-year-old rearguard that blossomed in his second professional season last year — despite missing significant time with a separated shoulder, he racked up 23 points in 65 games while averaging 21:38 TOI. Technically considered a rookie, DeKeyser finished second among all freshman D in minutes per game (only Winnipeg’s Jacob Trouba played more.)
As such, it’ll be curious to see what kind of money he gets. DeKeyser’s first NHL contract was a two-year, $2.7 million pact and he’s going to get a nice bump with his second one — but how big? Detroit has approximately $8 million in cap space for him, Tatar and veteran UFA Daniel Alfredsson, but must be mindful of next offseason when it’ll have four RFAs to negotiate with: Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, Tomas Jurco and Brendan Smith.
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