Kyle Quincey has agreed to a two-year, $7.55 million contract with the Detroit Red Wings, according to the AP. Quincey comes with a salary-cap hit of $3.77 million over each of the next two seasons, a slight increase from the $3.12 million he made in 2011-12.
The 26-year-old defenseman was drafted 132nd overall in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft by the Red Wings. After spending significant time with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the AHL, Quincey was placed on waivers in 2008 and claimed by the Los Angeles Kings. Less than a year later, Quincey was traded to the Colorado Avalanche in a deal that sent Ryan Smyth to LA.
On February 21, 2012, Quincey made his way back to Detroit. The Avalanche traded him to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Steve Downie, but Quincey was immediately dealt to the Red Wings in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2012 draft and defenseman Sebastien Piche.
Quincey has scored 18 goals and 77 assists for 95 points in 257 career games. In 72 games last season, Quincey scored seven goals and 19 assists for 26 points and averaged over 21 minutes of ice time per game.
While signing Quincey was a good move, it does not solve the Red Wings' problems on defense. This is a team that lost Nicklas Lidstrom to retirement and Brad Stuart to the San Jose Sharks. Even with the Quincey signing they only have six defensemen under contract next season, two of whom lack significant NHL experience.
Jakub Kindl has played 106 games in the NHL, while Brendan Smith has played only 14 career games. It’s possible they could both perform consistently next season, but there are certainly no guarantees.
With that being said, it may be in Ken Holland’s best interest to sign a proven veteran blueliner to help fill the voids left by Lidstrom and Stuart. Plus, if the Red Wings were to lose a defenseman to injury, they would likely be forced to call up another unproven player from the AHL.
The Red Wings have just over $13 million in cap space, more than enough to sign a veteran defenseman to a short-term deal and still have room to sign or trade for a big name player in the future, such as Keith Yandle.