Danny DeKeyser was a surprise addition to the roster and will have a tough road ahead of him if his goal is to make the US Olympic team.
Team USA invited 18 defensemen to the orientation camp and will only be rostering seven of them. DeKeyser is one of two defensemen who have little to no NHL experience and the other 16 have spent at least 2 years in the NHL.
Most likely DeKeyser is at the camp so the USA brass can get a good look at his skill set, give him valuable experience, and see if he will fit into the team in four more years. He is, also, there to be a warm body, as they will likely do drills during the camp and the team needs a large amount of players to make sure players are not overworked.
I do not expect to see Danny DeKeyser on the Olympic roster, but he has surprised us before.
Justin Abdelkader has a better chance at making the Olympic because he has some experience at the international level. He played in the 2007 World Junior Championships and the 2012 World Championships, where he produced 2 points and 4 points respectively.
Playing with Pavel Datsyuk on Detroit’s first line help him grow immensely this past season as well and put him on Team USA’s radar even more than he already was.
He will be battling with the 23 other forwards invited to the camp to be one of the 14 forwards on the Olympic roster. Even with the roster having to be trimmed down by 10 skaters I expect to see Abdelkader’s name on the ballot because not only can he keep up with the first line players, but he can grind out a game in the bottom six.
Abdelkader is a very versatile player and could take up a center or winger role, while being a solid penalty kill player for the US.
Out of Justin Abdelkader and Danny DeKeyser, it is Justin Abdelkader who has a better chance at making the final roster, but DeKeyser certainly has the skill to make the team as well.