COMMENTARY | About a week ago, I wrote an article about how I wanted to see newly signed defenseman Danny DeKeyser earn his roster spot on the Detroit Red Wings by playing in the AHL and developing his skills.
On Friday, April 5, coach Mike Babcock inserted DeKeyser into the lineup for the game against the Colorado Avalanche. Despite wanting DeKeyser to earn his roster spot, I was curious to see how he would perform in his NHL debut.
DeKeyser did not disappoint as he was on the ice for 16:36, 1:35 of which was on the penalty kill that did not allow a power-play goal.
He looked like a seasoned veteran on the ice. He got his stick in passing lanes, he was physical in front of the net and he made good decisions with the puck.
He didn't register a shot on goal, but DeKeyser is more of a defensive defenseman anyway. It will be nice to see some offensive production out of him down the road, but I like seeing him contribute defensively.
While I liked what I saw from DeKeyser, it is just one game, and it was against a team ranked 25th in goals scored per game.
That doesn't take anything away from what DeKeyser did, but I need a bigger sample size before I determine if I was wrong about whether or not he should be on the Red Wings full time right now.
But for playing in his first NHL game on the road in a hostile environment, DeKeyser was as good as advertised.
I would, however, like to see him put on some muscle during the offseason. He is 6-foot-3, but only weighs 190 pounds. He could be a big presence on the blue line if he added 25 to 30 pounds.
But, he is just 22 years old and was playing for Western Michigan less than a month ago. He hasn't had a lot of time to adjust to the speed of the NHL, but he didn't seem the least bit rattled against the Avalanche.
DeKeyser stepped up to the plate for the Red Wings and helped Detroit pick up two big points as it fights for a playoff spot.
Tom Mitsos is a Michigan native who covers the Detroit Red Wings for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He also is a high school sports reporter at MLive Media Group. You can follow Tom on Twitter @tom_mitsos.
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