Steve Tambellini and the Edmonton Oilers won the Justin Schultz sweepstakes last season and now they appear to be going back for another round.
College player Danny DeKeyser is a hot new name that many NHL GM’s are looking at and Tambellini could be one of those names. Although Tambellini has not officially said that Edmonton is pursuing DeKeyser, Oilers owner Darryl Katz has taken the initiative and has gotten the ball rolling. Katz personally called DeKeyser in hopes to persuade him to head up to Alberta and play for the Oilers.
Oilers VP of hockey operations Craig MacTavish will meet with DeKeyser in Toronto later this week to pitch the Oilers. Justin Schultz may join the Oilers brass heading to Toronto to meet with DeKeyser. The Oilers are using the same approach they used last season to land Schultz, last season Taylor Hall spoke with Schultz about the Oilers and the possibility of him joining the team. Paul Coffey also made a phone call to Schultz and it paid off for the Oilers as they were able to sign Schultz.
DeKeyser, a 23 year old defenseman for the Western Michigan Broncos, has good size standing in a 6’3″ and would be yet another young name with a ton of potential on this Edmonton team. DeKeyser is a great skater and is more known for his defensive prowess rather than his offense. DeKeyser spent two years in the juniors with the Trail Smoke Eaters and the Sioux City Musketeers before enrolling at Western Michigan University for the 2010-11 NCAA season.
Pairing DeKeyser with Schultz as the top defensive pair and with young stars Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail Yakupov leading this team, it gives the Edmonton Oilers a lot of firepower and a very bright future.
However, with many NHL teams vying for DeKeyser’s services, the Oilers are not the front runners, for now.
The early favorites to sign the young defenseman are the Detroit Red Wings. It makes perfect sense for Detroit to throw their hats into the ring. DeKeyser is a Michigan native and could become a Michigan hero if he decides to stay in state and play for the Wings. For the Red Wings, it gives the team a young defenseman who is ready to play in the NHL and has the potential to become a very solid player in the future. With some seasoning, DeKeyser could fill the void that Nicklas Lidstrom left when he retired at the end of last season. Another reason the Red Wings could get DeKeyser is a personal reason. DeKeyser played youth hockey with Detroit’s assistant GM Jim Nill’s son, Trevor.
It looks good for Detroit, but other teams will try to bring the Michigan native to their respective teams.
Tampa Bay could be another team that could be in the mix for DeKeyser as well. The Lightning drafted DeKeyser’s college teammate and fellow defenseman Luke Witkowski.
The Oilers were able to land Wisconsin Badgers player Justin Schultz last season. Therefore nothing is impossible for the Oilers at this point, but right now everything is just speculation.