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Summer Signing Series – Dekeyser

As the summer free agency period comes to a close MPS is taking this opportunity to review the biggest signings of the summer from a purely financial perspective. To be fair to all the teams and players we’ll be looking at we’ll be using the same set of base assumptions throughout the series. Principally these assumptions are:

– The performance metrics we want to pay for are:

o Goals (40%) and Assists (60%) when the players are out at Even Strength or on the Power Play.
o Team Goals Against (100%) when the player is on the ice killing penalties.

– The salary cap starts this season at $73 million and increases 5%/year for future years (obviously this is up for debate but it basically reflects flat revenue growth and the assumption the NHLPA uses its escalator clause).

Signing #11 – Danny Dekeyser

This summer, the Detroit Red Wings avoided arbitration and re-signed Danny Dekeyser with a long term deal.

The Details

On July 26th, 2016, Danny Dekeyser and the Red Wings agreed to a 6 year, $30M contract extension (AAV of $5M). In 2015-2016 Dekeyser scored 8 goals and 27 assists and played an average of 23 minutes per game.

Breaking it Down

As explained in our earlier blog, point totals are fine but valuation needs to be done using rates (if this doesn’t make sense to you please check out that other post because the rest of this article/series takes it for granted) so let’s take a look at Dekeyser’s rates:

EVEN STRENGTH Last 3 Years Last Season
Goals/60 Min 0.15 0.25
Assists/60 Min 0.64 0.42
POWER PLAY Last 3 Years Last Season
Goals/60 Min 0.16 0.00
Assists/60 Min 1.76 0.00
PENALTY KILL Last 3 Years Last Season
Team Goals Against/60 Min 6.62 8.18

Dekeyser is now the second defenceman we have reviewed in our summer signing series (Seth Jones was the first). If you have been following along with our series, you might remember that Jones’ rates were ‘okay’. Comparing that with Dekeyser’s rates though we find that they are comparable to Jones, although slightly lower in almost every category. You’ll also notice that his power play rates are 0 Pts/60 for last season (obviously he’s not a power play specialist). Another item of note is that we don’t see an increase in rates between his last season and the last 3 years. This tells us that he has been very consistent but unlike some of the other RFAs we’ve looked at there isn’t much chance Dekeyser starts generating significantly more offence as this contract goes on.

Ice Time

The other key factor to determining a player’s worth is how much ice time they get (again if you haven’t read this article yet you may want to do that so you can see the logic behind this). In Dekeyser’s case he has played the following:

ICE TIME Last 3 Years Last Season
Even Strength 16.49 17.05
Power Play 1.04 0.45
Penalty Kill 2.39 2.77

Dekeyser ranks second in overall ice time for the Red Wings at over 19 minutes/night and has clearly become a very significant part of their blue line. You should also notice that his ice time did increase slightly last year although he played a reduced role on the power play (see rates above for why that would be…)..

The Forecast

We’ll start by using Dekeyser’s 3 year average rates. This is our typical default and tends to do a pretty good job of setting a baseline value for the player.

Dek1

The result here isn’t great. It’s not terrible but obviously an overpay by over $0.5 million/year isn’t what the Red Wings would want to see. That said, we did mention above that Dekeyser took a step up in minutes last year and presumably this contract is implying that that step up is permanent so let’s take another look using last year’s minutes instead.

Dek2

While the increase in minutes wasn’t a ‘cure-all’ it definitely helps and now we find that Dekeyser is less than $0.5 million/year overpaid. Now, while we described above that it was unlikely that Dekeyser’s performance would significantly improve over the length of this contract his minutes might be less static and could certainly increase over time. Looking at the Red Wings’ depth chart it’s clear that the top pairing minutes go to Niklas Kronwall but he is 35 years old so it’s not crazy to think that over the next 6 years Dekeyser may start to take on more first pairing type minutes which would definitely help this valuation and could even make him a bargain.

Verdict

Dekverdict

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Summer Signing Series – Dekeyser

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