While it may or may not have made any difference, the Detroit Red Wings probably would have liked to have young Danny DeKeyser healthy as they attempted to preserve a 3-1 series lead against the top-seeded Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference quarterfinals. The 23-year-old defenseman showed promise in his first pro career games during the 2013 season, providing hope that the future of this defense is in good shape.
However, Detroit lost DeKeyser early in the postseason to a broken thumb and would drop three straight contests to Chicago before falling in an epic Game 7 that went extra time.
The silver lining in DeKeyser’s recovery process is that he remained eligible to join the Wings’ AHL squad, the Grand Rapids Griffins, on their own championship run for the Calder Cup. DeKeyser aims to improve his strength before the Red Wings rejoin this offseason.
“I’ll be honest,” said Griffins Coach Jeff Blashill said prior to the series, via the Detroit Free Press, “when he came to Western, I had no idea how good he was. He’s a real special player, especially from the defensive aspect.
“Danny, to me, is such an efficient player. He creates offense without giving up a lot. There’s not a lot of risk in his game. He makes a lot of little plays defensively, he’s got a long stick, he manages the puck extremely well. He very rarely tries to do more than he should. He doesn’t throw the puck away. He’s able to make those little passes that create offense.”
The Griffins are going home with 2-0 series lead against the Syracuse Crush, but only have a plus-minus of negative-one with DeKeyser on the ice. It will be interesting to see how much DeKeyser’s impact will be magnified as the series progresses and DeKeyser meshes with his new teammates.