Thursday, July 28, 2016

Danny DeKeyser inks primo deal. Will it affect Ristolainen negotiations?

Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser is widely viewed as a solid top-four d-man who'll give you 20+ minutes of pretty solid defensive play while contributing a decent amount on offense. The former undrafted college free agent who signed with the Wings in 2013 has 14 goals and 65 assists in 234 games played for Detroit. It comes out to just about five goals and 22 assists for the 6'3" 190 lb. Macomb, Michigan native.

For his efforts, the 26 yr. old DeKeyser just avoided arbitration and landed himself a 6yr/$30M contract courtesy of Wings GM, Ken Holland, complete with "a no-trade clause from 2017-18 through 2019-20 and a modified no-trade clause the last 18 months of the contract," according to the Detroit Free Press.

Buffalo Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen is coming off of his entry-level deal and will be entering his fourth season with the Buffalo Sabres. Last season he was the Sabres workhorse logging over 25 minutes of ice-time, good for 10th in the league in ATOI. In 2015-16 he had career highs in goals, assists and points after finishing with nine goals and 32 points in 82 games.

For his career Ristolainen has 19 goals and 46 assists in 194 games which averages out to eight goals and 19 assists per 82-game season. Those numbers are very similar to DeKeyser's five goals and 22 assists per 82 games.

In addition, they're right on par with fellow defenseman Zach Bogosian. For his 478-game career, Bogosian has scored 47 goals and added 111 assists for the same 8g/19a average that Ristolainen has. Even recently acquired defenseman Dmitry Kulikov is in that range averaging five goals and 19 assists over his 460-game career.

With DeKeyser making $5M/season, Bogosian at $5.14M/season and Kulikov with a cap-hit of $4.33M/yr. the price of defensemen has gone up.

How will this affect Ristolainen and his contract talks?

I'm pretty sure every Sabres fan felt that his cap-hit would be at least $5M on a longer term contract and in light of the DeKeyser contract, that will likely be the minimum. We should probably expect a long-term contract in the $5.5-6M range. Something like an 8yr./$44M deal would probably work.

Hopefully they can get 'er done soon.

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