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DeKeyser's signing brings back memories for Abby

Monday, 04.1.2013 / 9:01 PM ET
By Bill Roose - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com / The Wheel Deal
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Danny DeKeyser talked to the Detroit media after skating in his first practice with his new Red Wings' teammates. (Photo by Bill Roose/Detroit Red Wings)

DETROIT – As someone who grew-up in Michigan cheering for the Red Wings as a young boy, forward Justin Abdelkader had an idea of what Danny DeKeyser must have felt as he skated with his new team for the first time last Saturday.

Like Abdelkader, who was born and raised in western Michigan, DeKeyser grew-up a huge Red Wings fan in metro Detroit. The undrafted free agent defenseman signed with his hometown team over the weekend after deciding on the Wings instead of several other NHL clubs that sought his services.

“Yeah, my dad and I talked about it too,” Abdelkader said. “Just remembering the first time I walked into the locker room, and guys coming up to me to introduce themselves. You knew most of the guys, but for them to walk up to you and introduce themselves was really special.”

It was a "pinch me" moment for DeKeyser, who grew-up 40-minutes northeast of Joe Louis Arena and played three seasons of college hockey at Western Michigan in Kalamazoo.

“He looks excited and happy to be here, obviously. It’s great for him,” Abdelkader said. “It’s great that he chose his hometown team and it’s got to be extremely exciting for him to come in here and be a part of a team, an organization that he probably grew-up rooting for.”

Though Abdelkader took the more traditional route to the Red Wings, who selected him in the second-round of the 2005 NHL draft, the memories of turning pro for his hometown team were no different than what DeKeyser experienced.

“It was awesome, something that I will never forget, just walking in here for the first time,” Abdelkader said. “I remember coming in for a pre-game skate and it was optional; not a lot of guys came down to the rink. … Finally to make the dream come true and step foot into the locker room for the first time and to meet the guys was a great experience.”

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 NYI 53 29 18 6 150 131 64
5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
6 BOS 54 29 19 6 159 148 64
7 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 PHI 53 24 20 9 127 138 57
12 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
13 OTT 56 25 25 6 157 173 56
14 CBJ 56 22 28 6 140 173 50
15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 53 18 20 26 38
H. Zetterberg 54 10 27 4 37
T. Tatar 53 16 17 0 33
G. Nyquist 54 14 16 0 30
P. Datsyuk 39 8 21 13 29
J. Abdelkader 54 14 13 -3 27
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 40 5 11 7 16
D. DeKeyser 50 7 8 13 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 21 10 4 .934 1.94
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89