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The Collegiate Free Agents

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.


Filed in: NHL Teams, Non-NHL Hockey, College Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink


MoreShoot's avatar

Well I hope the fact that DeKeyser’s former coach is an assistant to Babcock will create some leverage. The kid can play.

Posted by MoreShoot on 02/29/12 at 10:11 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Torey Krug, D
Junior, Michigan State University

Despite being just 5’9, 180 lbs, Krug has received a ton of NHL interest. At the conclusion of last season, several NHL teams made the Spartans captain a contract offer and that’s likely to happen again at the end of this season. One team that Krug could potentially sign with is the Carolina Hurricanes, who have been eyeing the diminutive defenseman since last season.

The Livonia, MI native is a quick, puck-moving defenseman who is blessed with tremendous offensive instincts. Two attributes that have really caught the attention of NHL teams are Krug’s ability to move pucks quickly and his decision-making. He sees the ice and anticipates remarkably well. It isn’t often that Krug makes errant passes. His great poise and patience with the puck allows him to pick his spots and move the puck with ease, even when pressured.

Krug’s excellent skating ability makes him very good in transition. He uses his small stature and low center of gravity advantageously in finding open spaces, especially in high traffic areas.

Another asset that has had NHL teams really taking notice of Krug is his offensive prowess, which can be seen in his terrific statistical numbers. His superb puck-moving ability along with his creativity allows him to score and set up plays in a variety of ways. Where this is particularly evident is on the Michigan State power play that Krug quarterbacks.

Krug is serving as the Spartans’ team captain for the second consecutive year. His leadership, particularly on the blue line, has been invaluable to Michigan State. Krug currently leads the Spartans with 32 points (11 goals, 21 assists) in 35 games. He also co-leads the CCHA in scoring with 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) in 28 conference games as well.

While his size may deter some NHL teams, his excellent skill set and consistently solid all-around game will make Krug a risk well worth taking for others.

Twenty Questions with Torey Krug.
Vid courtesy of youtube user cchaproductions.

Something in the Livonia water system that’s producing pretty damn good talent?  Oh and his favorite player is The Magnificent John-Michael Liles.

Posted by SYF from Twerkin' with Anastasia Ashley on 02/29/12 at 10:16 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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