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DeKeyser awaits his NHL debut

Rookie is in tough spot as team fights for playoff berth

Thursday, 04.4.2013 / 10:04 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
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DeKeyser awaits his NHL debut

Red Wings defenseman and Detroit native Danny DeKeyser hopes to make his NHL debut sooner than later. (Photo by Dave Reginek)

GLENDALE, Ariz. – For Danny DeKeyser, his family and friends – like the Detroit media – are sounding like a broken record.

Since the 22-year-old Detroit native signed a rookie free agent contract with the Red Wings last Saturday, everyone he knows, and doesn’t know for that matter, pesters him daily about when he’ll make his NHL debut with the Red Wings.

“My family asks me every day, so it’s the same thing I tell you guys, whenever my name’s up there is when I’ll be in,” DeKeyser said Thursday morning at JKobing.com Arena.

Coach Mike Babcock has hinted this week that he would like to get a look at the 6-foot-3, 190-pound defenseman, who spent the past three seasons at Western Michigan University and became the crown jewel of the undrafted free agent pool last month.

“It's interesting with Danny here, we have so few practices to get him up to speed to what we want,” Babcock said. “We sure like what we see, we just got to have enough courage to fire him in and get on with it. Originally it was going to be today, it's not.”

When DeKeyser gets is time is a fine line, Babcock said.

“We'll figure it out,” the Wings’ coach said. “In the meantime he'll get an opportunity to practice every day with good NHL players and when he gets a chance he'll be in.”

DeKeyser hasn’t looked out of place either. He’s a smooth skating big man, who is quickly assimilating to his new surroundings.

“All the guys here have been really good,” he said. “I was a little nervous the first day when I stepped into the locker room, but everyone has made me feel really comfortable so it’s a good thing.”

But DeKeyser is aware of the fine line of throwing him into a game in the final four weeks of the regular-season as the Red Wings continue to battle for a Western Conference playoff spot.

“I definitely understand it’s tough. Just a few points separate everybody,” he said. “The standings change every night. It’s a heated race in both conferences, so it’s a tough situation and I understand that.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @Bill_Roose

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 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 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 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