DETROIT — Rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser’s transition to the NHL could not have gone any better over his first two games.
“When you can skate like that…,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said. “He made a few errant passes (Sunday), but I think that was more nerves than anything else. He can spin and go back in and pass it up the middle. I know our good players like D who can go get the puck and get it going, versus playing the zone coverage. I like watching him.”
DeKeyser made the jump from college hockey to the NHL after signing a two-year deal on March 29.
“I did the best I can to just be prepared and I got some stuff to work on, so just keep working every day and try to be the best I can,” said DeKeyser, a De La Salle grad.
Babcock’s confidence in DeKeyser is high, even playing the blue liner on the penalty kill.
“He’s putting faith in me so I have to come through in the clutch when it matters,” DeKeyser said. “It’s a quicker game, so it’s important to move your feet out there and get some speed going, so you can’t be caught flat-footed. If you’re caught flat-footed, you’re going to get beat. I just tried to have tight gaps in the neutral zone and get back to pucks as best I can. That’s my game, that’s what I try to do.”
In two games, DeKeyser, 23, is averaging just over 16 minutes of ice time,
In three seasons at WMU, DeKeyser, who was undrafted, appeared in 118 games and had 12 goals, 37 assists and 107 penalty minutes.