As expected, Jake Muzzin is going to miss some time. To make room on the roster, he’s on IR and Filip Král is now the seventh defender.
The @MapleLeafs have recalled D Filip Král from the @TorontoMarlies.— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) October 19, 2022
D Jake Muzzin has been placed on injured reserve.
Meanwhile the Marlies have a new defender for their rapidly thinning ranks:
News | The Marlies have signed signed defenceman Danny DeKeyser to a PTO. #MarliesLive pic.twitter.com/2Hi1FfPIUY— Toronto Marlies (@TorontoMarlies) October 19, 2022
Danny DeKeyser is 32, a left-shooting defender, and he is a UFA this season. He was with the Vancouver Canucks on a PTO, but they released him.
DeKeyser went undrafted, and was signed by the Detroit Red Wings, his literal hometown team, in the spring of 2013 as he was finishing his final year at Western Michigan where he was team captain. He played in six playoff AHL games and 11 NHL games with two in the playoffs that year. The Red Wings lost to Chicago in the Conference Semifinals, and he joined the NHL team fulltime the next year.
Once on the Red Wings, DeKeyser never left, playing there through last season with no AHL time. Last year was the final year of a six-year deal that paid him $5 million AAV. The Red Wings are young, rebuilding, and decided they wanted Ben Chiarot at $4.75 million for four years instead.
So, what’s he doing on the Marlies, and he is any good at all?
Second question first. DeKeyser is one of those defenders who had okay defensive results when the team wasn’t really bad, but lost that as he aged — or the team devolved into terribleness. Which is it? Him or the team? In his recent seasons he’s shown some positive impact on goal scoring, but that might be simply a matter of meeting a minimum level of competence and work ethic on a very bad team. His final year in Detroit last year was really bad, though.
First question second. The Marlies are short on anyone with experience in North America playing on defence who isn’t a prospect. He should be able to take on the role that Carl Dahlström and Jordie Benn were collectively going to fill, and also make up for Král’s and Victor Mete’s promotion to the Leafs for the current run of injuries.
The unspoken question is, of course: Is this just a parking spot until the Leafs have the SPC space to sign him to an NHL deal? Yeah, likely. He’s ideal because he’ll clear waivers, he’s a pro, he’s not far from home while he considers how his career is going, and if he can still play at an AHL/NHL callup level then that’s great.
There was some talk on Insider Trading that Pierre-Olivier Joseph might be available for trade from the Penguins, and he’s great! He’s young, has potential, on a cheap deal, and he won’t clear waivers. So while that’s who everyone wants as the callup, you can’t have that kind of player as the callup. You can have Danny DeKeyser. Just as soon as the contracts get sorted out.
The good news is that Muzzin appears to only be on IR, so he may not miss a lot of time.