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Red Wings, Danny DeKeyser agree on two-year, $4.4 million contract

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — It was close.

With training camp opening Friday, the Red Wings and defenseman Danny DeKeyser had yet to agree on a new deal.

Until now.

The sides worked out a two-year contract worth $4.375 million, a salary cap hit of $2.187 million per season. DeKeyser will earn $2.125 million the first year and $2.25 million the second year.

“He’s one of our of top-four defensemen, he’s become one of our most important players,” Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “This probably took a little longer than both sides wanted, but when you look around the league there weren’t many comparables.”

DeKeyser, signed as an undrafted free agent in 2012, played in 65 games last season and finished with 23 points (four goals) and a plus-10 rating.

At 6-foot-4 and 190 pounds, DeKeyser is already one of the more mobile and rangy players in the NHL.

“He knows how to defend,” Holland said. “He knows how to position himself, he knows how to use his stick.

“There aren’t many 6-foot-4 players in the league who are as mobile. He’s an important player on our team.”

DeKeyser was confident a deal could be reached.

“With a lot of restricted free agents, it takes a little bit longer than the unrestricted guys,” DeKeyser said.

“It’s just a little longer process and that’s the way it is with a lot of guys.”

Jurco wants to stay

Forward Tomas Jurco arrived for Tuesday’s conditioning skate at Joe Louis Arena, hoping to make the Red Wings roster.

Jurco, who has minor league options available, admitted it would sting to start the season in Grand Rapids.

“It would hurt,” Jurco said. “Every player wants to play in the NHL. But it’s a kind of a business, and if I’m going to start there, I’m going to play my best hockey and hopefully I’ll move up here early in the season.”

Jurco had 15 points (eight goals) in 36 games with the Red Wings last season.

Ice chips

Holland said he is not expecting forwardDaniel Alfredsson (lower back) in camp.

Alfredsson, who is debating whether to retire, has not skated in more than a week.

… Forward Anthony Mantha was held out of Tuesday’s prospects tournament game with a sore knee.