According to MLive.com's Ansar Khan, the Detroit Red Wings are pursuing Western Michigan defenseman Danny DeKeyser: "The undrafted free-agent defenseman from Western Michigan University is being pursued by every NHL team, including the Detroit Red Wings."
Last year, the Red Wings were also trying to sign DeKeyser, before he announced he was going back to school at Western Michigan.
It's easy to see why DeKeyser is so sought after. He's 6'3", can play on the power play and can kill penalties as well.
On March 23, Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill spoke with Khan about the team's interest in DeKeyser:
“We've talked to him for the last few years, all other 29 teams have, too,'' Red Wings assistant general manager Jim Nill said. “He's one of the top free agents available."
“He'll have lots of options.''
Nill went on to provide all the attributes DeKeyser could bring to the Red Wings:
“He's a character player, great family background, great size, range, moves the puck well, a very good skater for a big man,'' Nill said. “He's solid all-around defensively. Not a big point-producer. He knows the game well, plays within his limitations."
“He's hard to beat one-on-one because of his range, his reach and his skating ability."
If the Red Wings sign DeKeyser then they may have found a replacement for Brad Stuart at a much cheaper price. At 23 years old, DeKeyser is young enough to grow with the Red Wings and would save the team from going out and overpaying for a mediocre defenseman.
Would college free agent defenseman Danny DeKeyser help the Red Wings this season?
With the Red Wings moving to the East next year, there will be a need for them to become grittier—and DeKeyser could help to make that happen.
The Detroit Free Press' Helene St. James hinted that the Red Wings might want DeKeyser inserted into their lineup this season: "And with Quincey out, DeKeyser could pretty well bank on being given top-four minutes, including time on the power play."
If the Red Wings are telling DeKeyser that he can enter the lineup immediately and play big minutes, it is very telling.
With the trade deadline approaching on April 3, the Red Wings potentially signing DeKeyser before that date would put them in a position of strength. Such a move could allow them to trade defenseman Ian White for a draft pick.
Either way, DeKeyser looks to have a bright future. If the Red Wings succeed in signing him, it wouldn't only benefit the team long term, but for this season as well.