Detroit Red Wings: A Prospect Finally Makes the Team

Newest Red Wing Kyle Quincey returns to his professional roots in Detroit

By Rhys Richards (@RREsq)

On Thursday night, Detroit’s fourth round pick (132nd overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft finally established himself on the big club.

Kyle Quincey, who stands 6’2” and weighs 206 pounds, played in the winged wheel with Jonathan Ericsson at even strength and even saw some powerplay time. Quincey played with some jump as if he was excited to finally stick with the big club.

Quincey likely expected to make his mark with the Red Wings much sooner, especially after his excellent performance filling in for the injured Mathieu Schneider in the 2007 NHL playoffs. Instead, the Kitchener, Ontario native injured his hand in training camp the following season, played the entire season in Grand Rapids, and learned all too quickly the brutal reality of the numbers crunch for good NHL teams.

In 66 games with the Griffins in 2007-2008, Quincey posted five goals and added 15 assists but showed his frustration with 149 minutes.

In fact, Quincey only made the team after being claimed off of waivers by Los Angeles in the 2008-2009 season and establishing himself as an NHL-caliber defenseman in Colorado for the past three seasons.

In 2008-2009, Quincey again learned the brutal realities of the NHL, this time the victim of a salary cap crunch. Detroit put the big defenseman on waivers, where he was claimed by Los Angeles. In 72 games, Quincey posted 4 goals, 34 assists, and 63 penalty minutes, statistics that led the Los Angeles defensive corps.

In the off-season, Quincey was traded to the Colorado Avalanche for Tom Preissing and a fifth round pick (Luke Walker of the Portland Winterhawks) in exchange for forward Ryan Smyth.

In Colorado, Quincey’s offense took a slight hit though he still managed 29 points (6 goals, 23 assists) in 79 games played in 2009-2010 and 23 points (5 goals, 18 assists) in 54 games in 2011-2012 before being traded on Tuesday. Unfortunately, Quincey lost all but 21 games in 2010-2011 due to an injured shoulder.

On Tuesday, Detroit was the third of a three-team deal that saw Quincey traded to Tampa Bay in exchange for forward Steve Downie. Detroit legend turned Lightning GM Steve Yzerman promptly flipped Quincey to Detroit in exchange for the Red Wings’ first round pick and young undrafted defenseman Sebastien Piche.

And so, 26-year-old Quincey, who signed a two-year deal with the Red Wings in the summer of 2008, has finally gone full circle and will finally play regularly for the team that drafted him.

When gauging the type of defenseman Quincey has become in his time away from Detroit, his plus-9 in 2009-2010 and minus-1 this season for weak Colorado teams are more telling than his offensive numbers. His tenacity is also underscored by all of the trials and tribulations he has persevered through at such a young age.

In terms of Detroit Trade Deadline additions, Quincey can be compared to another tough defenseman Brad Stuart, though Quincey has more offensive upside.

Unlike Stuart, however, Quincey is a restricted free agent at the end of the season, which could very well determine the value of this move as Detroit fans look back on it a few years from now.  Presuming Detroit re-signs Quincey in the off-season, this trade could become another feather in General Manager Ken Holland’s cap.

While an understated trade now, Quincey could very well play like he did in the 2007 playoffs, re-sign this off-season, then slot into the top four when Stuart signs somewhere on the West Coast as expected. Quincey will likely require a slight raise on the $3.25 million he is making this season. If Stuart departs and Quincey re-signs and plays like he did inLos Angeles, Holland and Detroit’s brass will be thanked yet again by Red Wings fans.

If Quincey’s third period go-ahead goal against Vancouver was any indication, this prospect can more than simply make the team. That goal tied his single-season career high of six. Fox Sports Detroit commentator Ken Daniels summed up the general reaction to Quincey’s return best when he bellowed, “Welcome back to Detroit, Kyle Quincey.”

Detroit ultimately lost in the shootout 4-3 after Vancouver tied the game with 15.4 seconds left. The loss ended Detroit’s record-setting 23-game home winning streak.

Rhys’ Rants: I have resigned myself to the fact that Teemu Selanne is not joining the Red Wings. Detroit would be wise, however, to add a gritty center in Paul Gaustad. This team has not been as dominant in the faceoff circle as the franchise’s recent Stanley Cup teams. That problem was best illustrated in the faceoff loss in the defensive zone late in the third period against the Canucks. While the icing call that led to the faceoff would not have been called every time, a win at the dot would have sealed Detroit’s 24th home victory in a row.

Gaustad also adds physicality, which Detroit almost always lacks. Perhaps the newly-supplanted Jakub Kindl or aging veteran Mike Commodore will be the basis of whatever package Detroit sends the opposite way. Given what Detroit just paid for Quincey, they might be best served by holding onto Kindl.

On a side note, fantasy poolies’ patience may finally be rewarded next season. While discussing the Quincey trade on the Power Play on NHL Home Ice Radio, Holland emphatically stated that top defensive prospect Brendan Smith would skate with the big club next season.

Statistics and other information obtained at www.nhlnumbers.com, www.hockeydb.com and http://redwings.nhl.com/club/news.htm?id=467473.     

Share your thoughts about the NHL, the Detroit Red Wings, and hockey in general with Rhys at Twitter: @RREsq.  He can be reached via email at RhysJRichards@gmail.com.  Join the many fans of The Hockey Guys on Facebook and Twitter @TheHockeyGuys.

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