Red Wings Have Inside Track on Dekeyser? Lehtera to NHL?
Western Michigan junior Dan Dekeyser could have signed with an NHL team last season but elected to stay in school for another year. That won’t happen again as the 6-3 rangy D-man is expected to turn pro once his college season is over.
Broncos Head Coach Andy Murray, yes the same Andy Murray, tells me all 30 NHL clubs have done extensive scouting work on Dekeyser.
Who has the inside track? Those close to Dekeyser will tell you he’s yet to make a decision but many believe he’ll eventually sign with the Detroit Red Wings, his childhood team.
Red Wings Assistant GM Jim Nill, whose son Trevor grew up playing with Dekeyser, has spent extensive time recruiting him going back to last season.
Then again so has just about every other NHL team. Several prominent NHL Executives have been spotted with Dekeyser including Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman.
Murray is the first to tell you Dekeyser needs to go now.
He’s described as a good skating D-man who moves the puck and sees the ice well. He’s made his biggest improvement in the offensive end where he can shoot the puck and chip in on the power play.
Dekeyser, unlike Justin Schultz who signed with Edmonton last summer, was never drafted. He played his junior hockey in the BCHL before landing at Western Michigan.
Current Grand Rapids Griffins Head Coach Jeff Blashill coach Dekeyser his freshman season before leaving the program. Blashill worked under Red Wings Head Coach Mike Babcock last year prior to replacing Kurt Fraser in the AHL this season.
Dekeyser came into the program at 164 pounds but is now closer to 190. He’ll play at around 200 when it’s all said and done.
Dekeyser, a left shot D-man, is attractive to NHL teams for a number of reasons including the fact you don’t have to give up anything to get him. The combination of his size and skillset should allow him to come in and contribute right away.
NHL scouts tell me he compares well to Flyers defenseman Braydon Coburn.
Lehtera to NHL?
Sources close to KHL standout Jori Lehtera tell me he has “strong interest” in playing in the NHL next season. The former 3rd round draft pick of the St. Louis Blues was among the leading scorers in the KHL this year.
Lehtera, a native of Finland, is unlikely to come over without some assurance he’ll make the NHL club. He makes good money in the KHL and has little interest in playing in the AHL. The Blues feel he’s in a good spot and wouldn’t pressure him to come over to play in the minors.
The 25 year old has another year left on his KHL contract with Novosibirsk but can opt out of his deal after April 30th. His team was recently knocked out of the playoffs where suspension and injury led to him playing only three playoff games.
He was automatically suspended one game after getting into his second fight in which he suffered an injury at the same time. Apparently some blood built up around his eye which led to some headaches. He did not suffer a concussion and has fully recovered.
The Blues hold on to Lehtera’s rights until he turns 27.
Hope for Arnott?
Don't completely rule out Jason Arnott getting another shot with an NHL team.
More to come,
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