DETROIT -- The past two seasons have been extremely difficult for Danny DeKeyser on the ice, as the Red Wings' defenseman has suffered long-term injuries in back-to-back campaigns.
DeKeyser began his NHL career with a bang, signing with Detroit as an undrafted free agent in March 2013 in the midst of a playoff chase. Several NHL teams were hoping to sign DeKeyser, but the Detroit native decided to stay home and play for the Red Wings, immediately becoming an impact player on the blue line, helping the Wings continue their 25-year postseason streak.
But starting in 2018, the injury bug set its sights on the 6-foot-3, 190-pound defenseman. On December 4, 2018, DeKeyser suffered a hand injury that sidelined him for six weeks, and this past season, on October 22, DeKeyser injured his back which eventually led to season-ending surgery in December, limiting him to just eight games in 2019-20.
Before his back injury, DeKeyser was the No. 1 defenseman for the Red Wings. He was playing on the club's top defensive pairing with Filip Hronek and was facing the opponents' top lines.
"When he's healthy, he's our top defenseman and I think he's one of the most underrated defenders in the league," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "He obviously has a huge impact on our team."
With the time off during rehab added to an extended offseason due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this will be the longest DeKeyser has ever gone in his career without seeing game action. The defenseman said he's feeling better, though, and is ready to get back with his teammates as soon as possible.
"I'm feeling a lot better, which is good. It took me a little bit to kind of feel better again but I've finally gotten over that hump, I think," DeKeyser said. "Definitely doing a lot better and I'm looking forward to skating, hopefully soon, when we get back on the ice. This year, I'm hoping to stay healthy and have a good year."
93 - Number of games DeKeyser has missed the past two seasons due to injuries. He was a late scratch on October 15 against Vancouver and was sidelined the last 62 games of the season with the back injury. He missed 18 games in 2018-19 with a hand injury and missed 12 additional contests throughout that season with sporadic injuries.
19 - DeKeyser has played in 19 career postseason games, which is second among current Red Wings defensemen, behind only Marc Staal, who's played in 107 playoff games.
14 - DeKeyser's 441 career games place him 14th all-time among Red Wings defensemen.
8 - 2019-20 was DeKeyser's eighth NHL season, all with Detroit. In his career, the defenseman has earned 123 points on 29 goals and 94 assists in his 441 games.
8 - Number of games DeKeyser played last season after injuring his back against the Canucks on October 22.
4 - Number of points DeKeyser earned last season. He earned assists in each of the Wings' first two games of the campaign, leading Detroit to an early 2-0 record, and produced two assists in Detroit's win against Montreal on October 10.
2 - Number of years remaining on DeKeyser's contract. On July 26, 2016, the defenseman signed a six-year deal to remain in Detroit.
2 - Number of infant daughters that DeKeyser and his wife, Melissa, are wrangling after their second daughter, Claire, was welcomed to the world on April 6. Claire joined 2-year-old McKinley in the DeKeyser household.