Detroit Red Wings Sign Kent Huskins: Did Ken Holland Explore All Options?

Isaac SmithAnalyst IJanuary 22, 2013

GLENDALE, AZ - MARCH 25:  Kent Huskins #6 of the St Louis Blues skates with the puck during the NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Arena on March 25, 2012 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Blues defeated the Coyotes 4-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings announced via their Twitter that they have signed free-agent defenseman Kent Huskins to a one-year, one-way contract.

But why Kent Huskins? Why not someone...better?

The signing happened when it was thought that Carlo Colaiacovo's shoulder injury would sideline him "weeks" according to MLive reporter Ansar Khan.

Yes, the Red Wings needed to sign or acquire a defenseman after having three injured defensemen (in Jakub Kindl, Jonathan Ericsson and now Colaiacovo) and yes, the Red Wings defense is essentially the Achilles tendon of the team this season.

But Huskins is not the answer.

Sure he is a career plus player (at plus-49), but last season Huskins only played in 25 games, and registered just six hits, 25 blocked and 11 giveaways.

Huskins is not an offensive threat, as the six-year NHL veteran defenseman has never eclipsed 22 points in a season and his defensive statistics are nothing to boast about either. 

When Nick Lidstrom retired this season and Brad Stuart signed with the San Jose Sharks to be closer to his family, the Red Wings simply signed Colaiacovo and left it at that after striking out with Ryan Suter.

The Red Wings need to pursue something that they have not pursued since failing to sign Ryan Suter.

That "something" is a top-tier defenseman.

Greg Wyshynski of Yahoo's Puck Daddy Blog states that the Red Wings "can do worse" than Huskins.

But the Red Wings can also do a lot better.

Huskins represents just another mid-tier to bottom-tier defenseman and he is obviously an "emergency" signing, as the Red Wings would have just five defensemen (including AHL call up Brian Lashoff) if they had not signed Huskins.

In my mind, Detroit should have traded for a top-tier defenseman that can "quarterback" the power play.

One name comes to mind.

P.K. Subban.

Subban has not re-signed with the Montreal Canadiens and the restricted free agent defenseman is reported by Pat Hickey of the Montreal Gazette to have "entered a new phase" in his contract negotiations, as he is still apparently miles away from the Canadiens in terms of dollar value of the contract.

According to Montreal Gazette columnist Dave Stubbs' tweet, Subban's contract negotiations have not moved as of this morning:

Nothing to report this morning on #Habs @pksubban1 talks

— Dave Stubbs (@Dave_Stubbs) January 22, 2013

An offer sheet to Subban would be almost out of the question as the compensation going back to Montreal would be a first, second and third-round draft pick.

But a trade is an interesting possibility. Detroit is handcuffed, as it is short on defensemen (and short on quality defensemen at that). Montreal is handcuffed as they only possess the rights of Subban at this point in time.

A deal for Subban would have to include a top six forward and a draft pick going the other way.

Whether that is something that Ken Holland would be willing to part with is another question, but one thing is for certain, the Red Wings have a boatload of forwards currently on the roster and another bumper crop seemingly coming up through their farm system.

The question persists: why not?

Subban is 23 years old. He has shown the capabilities to log big minutes on the power play (almost three and a half minutes per game) and on the penalty kill (over two and a half minutes per game).

Cut down on his 88 giveaways and Subban could be a top-tier member of the Red Wings' defense for years to come.

Yeah this is all fine and great, but what about the compensation?

As sending a player an offer sheet is considered cruel and unusual punishment for that player's current team these days, trading seems to be the more logical alternative.

Trading a top six forward and a prospect or a pick would certainly have to be enough to get Subban's rights.

Kent Huskins?


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