Toronto's Brian Burke is among the GMs hot on defenseman Danny DeKeyser's trail.
Update: Dallas Stars GM Joe Nieuwendyk will be bird-doggin’ from the Lawson press box when WMU and Michigan State do battle tonight.
National Hockey League general managers meet next week in Toronto, where they will likely debate division re-alignment, head shots and that staring competition between Tampa and Philly the other night.
Really, though, GMs should hold their meeting at Lawson Arena on Nov. 22, since so many of them will be there for a rare Tuesday night tilt against Notre Dame.
Broncos’ sophomore defenseman Danny DeKeyser.
Courtesy: Western Herald
Word has it six to eight NHL GMs will be on the Lawson concourse that night, including Toronto’s Brian Burke and Calgary’s Jay Feaster.
It’s one thing for scouts or hockey operations personnel to follow a kid all over hell to places like Schenectady and Marquette. That’s their job. It’s entirely something else – in a word: serious – when the GM physically shows up.
Like the time, back in 2008, when Oilers GM Kevin Lowe popped up in Big Rapids on a Saturday night during a blizzard to watch a playoff game between the Broncos and Ferris State.
Aren’t you supposed to be on Hockey Night in Canada tonight? was one of my many questions for him. (Out of respect, I did not ask who he was there to see.)
Anyway, DeKeyser is huge (6-3, but needs to add girth) and hockey smart with soft hands. Watching him skate is a scrumptious experience – he’s smooth and covers a lot of ice with seemingly minimal effort. He’s also gritty: he led the team in blocked shots last year.
So far this year, he’s plus-five with five points (two power-play goals) in nine games and logs a ton of ice time, most notably last Friday’s 3-2 victory in Ann Arbor when he was on the ice for what seemed like the entire third period as the Michigan Wolverines crashed ashore in waves.
DeKeyser is also 21 years-old, which means he’s not draft-eligible. Which means it’s a lot easier for NHL clubs to haggle for his services.
It explains why Red Wings general manager Ken Holland invited DeKeyser to the team’s prospects camp in Traverse City this summer – and why Holland, Mike Babcock, Jeff Blashill and Kris Draper were in Ann Arbor last Friday night to watch him.
It also explains why Lightning GM Steve Yzerman took time out of his busy schedule as “Hockey’s new God” to watch practice, speak to the team and pose for Facebook gold photo ops in Kalamazoo a few weeks ago – and why he was in Ann Arbor again last Saturday. (Let’s not also forget defenseman Luke Witkowski, pretty good in his own right, is also Tampa draft property.)
So Detroit and Tampa are angling hard for DeKeyser, with the Flames also having made multiple visits this season.
And this is where coach Andy Murray gets a taste of the college game. How does he convince DeKeyser to stay for a third year?