It won’t be long.

In fact, it’s probably already started.

WMU’s 3-1 loss to North Dakota on Saturday afternoon signaled the end of its season — and the beginning of an NHL feeding frenzy that will swallow Danny DeKeyser.  Like a giant harvest moon, a question — the question — hung above everything the Broncos did this season.

Is Danny going to leave for an NHL deal?

Now, the question must be answered.

Prior to the NCAA tournament, DeKeyser was reportedly 50-50.  And it makes sense: he probably wanted to see how his team would do in the tournament.  Now, thanks to the help of a formidable North Dakota opponent, it’s decision time.  Maybe he knows without a doubt what he wants to do.  Maybe he doesn’t.

But until we know, here are few thoughts and angles to consider:

  • DeKeyser’s agents (officially called “family advisors” since he’s still an amateur) will probably encourage him to sign now.  They will cite uncertainty over a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that the NHL and NHLPA will negotiate this summer (the idea being that their client should get his money now before the salary cap shrinks).  His agents will also cite the potential for injury and the overall uncertainty and risk of the unknown by waiting.
  • The NHL season ends two weeks from tonight.  A club could sign DeKeyser, pay him a healthy signing bonus, have him play three or four NHL games and — here’s the kicker — burn a year off his entry-level contract.  So a three-year deal — required for rookies — would, in effect, be two.  And teams like that, because it gives them more flexibility.
  • Conversely, had the Broncos made a run all the way to the Frozen Four, DeKeyser would have the bargaining power.  The sense of urgency among NHL clubs won’t be the same in April as it is now, because their regular seasons will be over and they can’t pay any bonuses or salary.
  • Why DeKeyser should stay: most NHL clubs don’t think he’s ready, physically, for the NHL.  They’ll sign him, but they’ll likely send him to the American Hockey League for a year so he can develop.  Who knows?  He might not mind.  But if he stays for his junior season, he’s more likely to walk directly onto an NHL roster if he leaves after next year — especially if he shows signs that he’s gotten stronger.
  • Why DeKeyser should go: this life is so short.  Say what you want about his agents’ scare tactics, but they’re right.  Something could happen.  And now that he’s won a CCHA championship, the next achievement would be an NCAA title.  Unfinished business, to be sure, but a lot has to go right for that to happen.
  • Another reason: He needs to play more games.  NHL and AHL teams play twice as many as the NCAA.  That’s a grind and DeKeyser’s career in the long-term would benefit from experiencing it now rather than later.

So if he decides to leave, one other question remains.


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11 thoughts on “Decisions

    WOW…your mother taught you well…

  2. Where did you get that he was 50/50? As you said, the NHL Scouts know he’s not ready and to go now would be a mistake. Even if he waits a year, he’s not going to make a NHL Roster straight out of college, he’ll play in the minors. He’s better off spending another year @ WMU.

    He’ll be worth more next year to both himself and the teams interested in him. Get another year’s education and increase your worth D.D.

    • Thanks for the comment, J.

      The selfish part of me that wants to see Dan play another year in Kalamazoo agrees with you. The realistic part of me that sees the bigger picture for Dan’s inevitable pro career thinks he’d do more to cultivate it by going now. College hockey, while competitive, can only prepare him so much. Another consideration: he just turned 22 years-old. If he waits until next March to turn pro, he’ll be 24 by the time he completes his first full pro season in the spring of 2014. And if he plays in the American League for a season or two, he could very well be 26 by the time he cracks the NHL — which puts him a bit behind in his development. Perhaps not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but something to consider. Then again, Detroit likes older prospects (if he goes there).

      As far as sources, all I can say is I have it on very good authority that he was 50/50 prior to the NCAA tournament.

      • Rick:
        His decision will ultimately be decided on where he’s most comfortable, or where he can get to the NHL the quickest. You are right in that Detroit likes to “season” its players in Grand Rapids, but they have the depth that enables them to do that. But, this coming year is more about physical development and less about skill development. He’ll have more time to devote towards this @ WMU versus the rigors of traveling and playing the additional games of the hockey minor leagues.

  3. I love the site and analysis, but sometimes your rumors seem to have no real merit and I have no idea where you heard them. Andy Murray says all of his defensemen are coming back. To me that trumps a vague 50/50 reference.

    But thanks again for your support of the program.

    • Thanks for reading, Curt, and I understand your point about the rumors. As you can imagine, balancing the reporting of information with protecting sources is an important and often tricky task. I do not report rumors from questionable sources and I certainly don’t make them up for the sake of stirring the pot or attracting attention. I have the 50/50 information from rock solid sources. Thanks again for reading.

    • Tenner is gone, I thought Andy said all six were coming back?!?!? How’s yer trump now?

      • In fairness to Murray, what is he supposed to say? That aside, the program is really high on this kid Kenney Morrison, a USHL defenseman who is 6-2, 190 and apparently has very similar offensive skills as Tennyson. Could eventually be a solid replacement.

      • Wow tough guy. Go to a national site to be a prick, not one with the same fans.

  4. People around and within Bronco Hockey speak freely with Rick because they know they aren’t getting outted! His commitment to these people and their trust make him a real source of Bronco Hockey information.

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