In his first full National Hockey League season, Danny DeKeyser continues to assert himself on the Detroit Red Wings blue line.
DeKeyser, who joined the Red Wings midway through the lockout-shortened season after playing three years at Western Michigan University, is now second amongst rookie defensemen in scoring, with two goals and nine points.
He’s scored twice in his last five games. He also added an assist in Detroit’s 5-4 shootout loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday.
The statistics are only aesthetically pleasing. The 23-year-old DeKeyser’s impact on the Red Wings of late has only added to the trust the team’s coaching staff has in him so early in his NHL career.
He’s steadily been over 20 minutes of ice time per night, exceeding 26 minutes in Friday’s shootout loss to the Washington Capitals.
“He’s just got good hockey sense,” Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock told the Detroit Free Press.
“Elite skater and real good defender. Whoever he plays with, plays better. Real good players do that to their partners and linemates.
It’s something he’s come here and just grabbed. It wasn’t very long ago we didn’t even know whether to put him in the lineup. … Now he’s rolled along, he’s in our top three.”