I agree that teams need offensive defensemen that can drive possession, but teams also need steady, reliable, two-way defensemen such as DeKeyser. This is not a home-run deal by any stretch, but I think it's a solid contract, one that absolutely needed to get hammered down. We certainly could not afford to lose DeKeyser, and although I thought he might take a bit of a hometown discount, I doubt we could have gotten a whole lot lower than what he signed.
Look around the league at some of the number 2 / 3 defensemen (which is what I believe DeKeyser is) and see what kind of contracts they're on...
Tobias Enstrom - $5.75M over 5 years.
Marc Staal - $5.7M over 6 years.
Jeff Petry - $5.5M over 6 years.
Dan Girardi - $5.5M over 6 years.
Brooks Orpik - $5.5M over 6 years.
Matt Carle - $5.5M over 6 years.
James Wisniewski - $5.5M over 6 years.
Jay Bouwmeester - $5.4M over 5 years.
Dennis Wideman - $5.25M over 5 years.
Zach Bogosian - $5.14M over 7 years.
Andy Green - $5M over 5 years
Andrew MacDonald - $5M over 6 years.
Alexander Edler - $5M over 6 years.
Paul Martin - $5M over 5 years.
Is there a single one of them you can say is definitively better than DeKeyser? Nope.
DeKeyser needs to be paired with a number one puck moving defenseman, and then we would finally see what he is really capable of.
No one is saying he's elite, and he's not being paid like he's elite. He's a solid number 2 / 3, and that's exactly how he's getting paid. Good contract, that has the potential to turn out to be a great contract...