Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/29/12 at 09:04 PM ET
from DJ Powers of Hockey’s Future,
Each year, the NHL dips into the pool of undrafted collegiate players to bolster their systems. This season’s list comprises of six forwards, two defensemen and one goaltender. These players have, to varying degrees, attracted considerable NHL interest and could be coming to an NHL organization near you this off-season. Unless otherwise noted, all stats are current as of February 27.
Dan DeKeyser, D Sophomore, Western Michigan University
With 30 NHL teams pursuing him, Dan DeKeyser has become the hottest commodity on the collegiate free agent market this season. And it’s not hard to see why. Two NHL teams that have shown some of the greatest interest in the Broncos rearguard are the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs.
The Clay Township, MI native began making a name for himself with Western Michigan last season as an excellent mobile, puck-moving defenseman. This season, he has taken his development to a whole new level and that has had NHL teams clamoring to get glimpses of him.
DeKeyser’s combination of size (6’3, 190 lbs), great feet and terrific shot has made NHL teams take notice. His skating is very good, but it is his footwork that separates DeKeyser from many collegiate defensemen and it’s really something to marvel at. He moves exceedingly well both in the defensive and offensive zones. The 10 or so pounds that he added over the summer has simply enhanced that attribute, making DeKeyser not only a stronger skater, but also heightening his fundamentally sound positional play as well.
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