DETROIT – The Red Wings may be down a defenseman when the regular season begins next week.
Danny DeKeyser suffered a lower-leg injury in Wednesday’s exhibition game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 25-year-old blue liner was hurt late in the third period of the Red Wings’ 7-2 victory.
DeKeyser logged more than 21 minutes of ice time while skating a game-high 29 shifts at Consol Energy Center.
He was examined by doctors following last night’s game. This morning he wore an immobilizing boot on his left foot and walked on crutches as he made his way to the team bus in downtown Pittsburgh.
Once back in Detroit, DeKeyser drove to the Detroit Medical Center, where he underwent further testing this afternoon to determine the extent of the injury. The Red Wings are still awaiting the results of the MRI.
DeKeyser was hurt during a Penguins’ power play after Tomas Nosek was called for hooking Pittsburgh forward Nick Bonino. Apparently, the Wings’ defenseman injured the lower left leg on an awkward hit, though he finished his shift and went out for one more shift before the game ended.
The injury to DeKeyser is a setback for the Wings and coach Jeff Blashill, who had high hopes of putting the young defenseman with veteran Mike Green as the team’s second pair at the start of the season. The rookie coach said he likes that the two blue liners play a contrasting style.
Because a timetable for DeKeyser’s return has not been established, his immediate absence will create an opportunity for a young defenseman – like Alexey Marchenko, Xavier Ouellet or Brian Lashoff – to earn a spot on the opening-night roster.
Green, who has missed the past four exhibition games with a groin injury, is expected to return Friday when the Wings host Toronto in their preseason home finale.
With DeKeyser out, it’s reasonably safe to think that Green and Kyle Quincey will be paired as partners with Brendan Smith and Jakub Kindl as the team’s third pairing.
In three preseason games, DeKeyser produced one assist with a plus-2 rating.
Last season, he became the 13th defenseman, 25 years old or younger, to reach the 30-point plateau in a single season in Red Wings’ history.