After winning the Justin Schultz sweepstakes last year, the Edmonton Oilers may be taking aim at another highly regarded college defenseman.
Western Michigan University‘s Danny DeKeyser is the next name for NHL GMs to try and make a pitch to and convince him that their team is the best fit. While GM Steve Tambellini has not publicly stated they are pursuing him, according to TSN’s Bob MacKenzie, Oilers billionaire owner Darryl Katz has put in a personal call to DeKeyser in an attempt to convince him to come to Oil Country.
With the college schedules winding down, open season on available free agents is in full swing. A couple have already been signed with Tampa Bay inking defenseman Andrej Sustr of Nebraska-Omaha and Vancouver signing forward Kellan Lain of Lake Superior State earlier this month. DeKeyser however, would seem to be the jewel of the class and the most sought after.
It seems like all 30 teams are looking at the 23-year-old DeKeyser, who played a year of junior with the Trail Smoke Eaters of the BCHL and another year with the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL before enrolling at Western Michigan for the 2010-11 season. Not unexpected of course, as the opportunity to upgrade your defense with an NHL ready prospect at entry level dollars is attractive to everyone.
The front-runner appears to be the Detroit Red Wings. DeKeyser, a Michigan native, has been linked to the Wings from the start. The Oilers though are seen as a key player still, especially after landing Schultz last year and offering the type of young exciting talent to grow with.
DeKeyser, a left-handed defenseman, is an excellent skater, good puck mover and is defensively very sound. He’s also an intelligent player and all reports indicate he’s a quick study.
For Oiler fans, the thought of a potential top pairing of Schultz and DeKeyser down the road is very intriguing, even if it’s only based on potential at this point.
DeKeyser is said to be in Toronto right now with his representatives and advisers to weigh his options as to which would be the best opportunity for him. A decision is likely to be coming soon and for Oiler fans whose patience is starting to wear thin with the rebuild, some good news like a free agent signing would be timely indeed.