Could Dan DeKeyser be Motown-bound?
Dan DeKeyser, the highly sought-after college UFA defenseman, was expected to make a decision sometime Thursday, but according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, a decision isn’t likely until tomorrow (Friday). It could come as early as noon, according to Ken Daniels.
DeKeyser had a fine junior season with the Western Michigan Broncos, in which he put up 2 goals, 13 assists, and 22 PIMs in 35 games. The 23-year-old Michigan native grew up idolizing the Red Wings and played under current Grand Rapids Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill. The Red Wings’ GM Ken Holland recently flew from Phoenix, with the Red Wings in the midst of a lengthy roadtrip, to Toronto to meet with the free agent.
Will the Red Wings Land DeKeyser?
Detroit signing DeKeyser should be as close to a slam dunk as possible, with his numerous Michigan connections, and the fact he grew up idolizing the Red Wings, but is Detroit willing to make concessions to land him? If DeKeyser’s signing hinges on a spot with the NHL team, will the Red Wings cave and give him a guarantee?
While giving an unproven and/or young player a guaranteed roster spot hasn’t been the team’s M.O. in recent history, DeKeyser can’t be lumped in with the team’s “overripened prospects.” A quick search of the Red Wings’ current roster turns up a handful of such prospects, like Jakub Kindl, Gustav Nyquist, Joakim Andersson, and even veterans like Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson and Henrik Zetterberg.
The difference between those players and DeKeyser is that they were drafted at 18 and 19, and spent several years developing in the juniors and minors. DeKeyser has done the developing of his game at the college level, and would likely not be buried in Grand Rapids for another three years just because of a team “philosophy.” The fans who gnash their teeth over the possibility of DeKeyser rejecting Detroit because the team will stick stubbornly to the overripening philosophy needn’t worry much. The Red Wings are well-acquainted with this player and probably know whether or not he can step right into the mix.
DeKeyser is, by most accounts, NHL-ready. With the Red Wings a bit thin on defense—when you’re signing Kent Huskins out of desperation, you are thin on D—DeKeyser and Detroit seems like a perfect match.