Danny DeKeyser wonders about future with Red Wings in possible final home game
Detroit — Danny DeKeyser thought about it a little, and if you're him, how could you not?
The veteran defenseman is an unrestricted free agent after this season. With the Red Wings still in a rebuild, and getting younger, DeKeyser's future is murky.
DeKeyser, a Macomb native who starred at Western Michigan and spent 10 seasons with the Wings, tried to soak in Little Caesars Arena as much as possible Saturday during the 7-2 loss to Pittsburgh.
"Anytime you're in a situation like this, your contract is up, you never know what'll happen, definitely you have that thought go through your head and whether it's your last home game or not," DeKeyser, 32, said. "That's something that will take care of itself in the summer, and there's not a whole lot to say right now."
The chance to play for the Red Wings, said DeKeyser, has been special.
"It's been a dream come true to play here," DeKeyser said. "(As a youngster) idolizing this team and playing here, coming to the rink every day, I've been pretty lucky to be able to play not just in the NHL but for my hometown team, as well. It's been special for me.
"I tried to go out there and enjoy the game today. I wish the outcome would have been a little different."
DeKeyser had back surgery two seasons ago and has had difficulty returning to the level he played at earlier in his career. He spent some time on the injured list last season and this one, and his play has been inconsistent.
When DeKeyser went on the injured list in March, there was the thought his career with the Wings had ended, given he also was placed on waivers (but not claimed). But DeKeyser returned and has played steady hockey in recent weeks.
"Having had the surgery two years ago, I'm just trying to keep my head on straight and work hard every day," DeKeyser said. "It (the back) has been feeling good. A lot of ups and downs these last couple of years. I had stretches where I felt like I played pretty good hockey and other times, some stretches I would have liked to have played better.
"For me, it's just trying to find the consistency and trying to be out there every night and just play a solid game with the puck and trying to defend."
DeKeyser will make a final determination on whether he will continue playing later this summer. The free agent market doesn't begin until July 13.
"I would love to keep playing if I can," DeKeyser said. "I don't know what'll happen but this stuff will play itself out in the summertime. I'll just wait and see. I'll let my body rest a little bit and just kind of see where it takes me, and think about things then."
Filip Zadina came down with appendicitis while the Wings were in Florida this past week, and had his appendix removed late in the week.
Coach Jeff Blashill said Zadina will not play in the final three games this week.
"He stayed in Florida and had his appendix removed," Blashill said. "It was successful and he should be totally fine, but that's at least a week (before being able to play)."
The Wings brought up forwards Riley Barber and Taro Hirose from Grand Rapids, and both were in the lineup against Pittsburgh.
With a goal Saturday, Jakub Vrana has three goals in his last three games, 18 points (13 goals, five assists) in 23 games this season, and 29 points (21 goals, eight assists) in 34 games since being acquired by the Wings late last season.
… Moritz Seider earned an assist on Vrana's goal. Seider continues to lead all NHL rookies in assists (43) and power play points (21), while leading all rookie defensemen with 49 points.
… Goaltender Thomas Greiss earned an assist on Michael Rasmussen's goal. It was Greiss' fourth career assist and first in a Wings jersey.
Red Wings at Devils
► Faceoff: 1 p.m. Sunday, Prudential Center, Newark, N.J.
► TV/radio: BSD-Extra/950
► Outlook: The Devils (27-43-8) are coming off an overtime loss Saturday against Carolina. … LW Jesper Bratt (25 goals, 70 points) has led offensively for a Devils team that has been riddled with injuries.