What Will Be Danny DeKeyser's Role on the Detroit Red Wings?

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What Will Be Danny DeKeyser's Role on the Detroit Red Wings?
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

While the Detroit Red Wings failed to make any major trades at the deadline, Ken Holland and his front office did manage to make one major addition to the team: college free agent Danny DeKeyser

Scouting reports call DeKeyser the "total package," noting his size and his ability to shoot the puck accurately, and he is touted as a "classic mobile defenseman." This is exactly the type of blue chip prospect the Red Wings need in their system. He gives the defensive corps depth and youth, and his mobility will help him to contribute on the offensive side as well. 

The difference between the DeKeyser acquisition and a traditional deadline move is that DeKeyser's role on the team is still very much up in the air. However, a few things are certain. DeKeyser will stay with the Detroit Red Wings for the remainder of the season and the playoffs. 

Brendan Savage of mlive.com tells us, "[H]e won't be going to Grand Rapids until at least next season as Nill and general manager Ken Holland both said he'll stay with the Red Wings for the remainder of this season."

That being said, there is no guarantee that he will get on the ice. 

With DeKeyser accompanying the team on the upcoming road trip, the Red Wings front office has commented on how DeKeyser will be used. General manager Ken Holland has been quoted by Ansar Kahn of mlive.com as saying, "Mike (coach Babcock) will play him when he thinks he's ready and he gives us a chance to win. We're not holding mid-season tryouts. We got to win games."

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With remarks like this coming from Ken Holland, it should be interesting to see where (if anywhere) Mike Babcock decides to play DeKeyser. Since he is a mobile defenseman, there are a few options: 

  • Option 1: Scratch White, play DeKeyser next to Jakub Kindl and pair Colaiacovo with Smith. 

This option would allow Kindl's size to be combined with DeKeyser's ability to pass the puck well. It would also give the young Smith a chance to play with veteran Colaiacovo

  • Option 2: Keep White, pair Smith with DeKeyser, scratch Kindl. Colaiacovo plays with White.  

The possibility of this option seems pretty slim, because Babcock seems wary of paring rookies together (for good reason). A "youth pairing" is still a somewhat interesting concept. 

  • Option 3: Don't play DeKeyser at all. 

Seems like there is a strong possibility that this will happen, especially if the team cannot string a few wins together. 

This season, look for DeKeyser on the ice in a very limited capacity. He is untested at the NHL level, and "The Show" is a very different style of game than he is used to. The 2013 Detroit Red Wings are battling for a playoff spot, so DeKeyser should not be played in the name of gaining experience if he creates a liability on the back end for the team. 

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