Who Should Detroit Red Wings Target If They Decide to Move Kyle Quincey?

Isaac SmithAnalyst IDecember 10, 2013

UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 29:  Michael Del Zotto #4 of the New York Rangers skates in warm-ups prior to the game against the New York Islanders at the  Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 29, 2013 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Kyle Quincey has become expendable this season for the Detroit Red Wings. As an overpaid, second-pairing-at-best defenseman, Quincey has drawn the ire of Red Wings fans on more than one occasion.

With a team-worst minus-10 rating with three assists in 31 games played, Quincey's time in Detroit should be up fairly soon.

Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press suggested that the Red Wings should trade Quincey once defenseman Danny DeKeyser is eligible to come off of the long-term injured reserve list.

The question is, who wants the 28-year-old defenseman that would be nothing more than a rental as he hits unrestricted free agency next season?

The answer is simple: the New York Rangers should be interested.

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 7: Goalie Jonas Gustavsson #50 of the Detroit Red Wings and teammate Kyle Quincey #27 both drop to their knees to block a shot from Brad Boyes #24 of the Florida Panthers during an NHL game at Joe Louis Arena on December 7, 2013 in
Dave Reginek/Getty Images

According to TSN's Darren Dreger, the Rangers are interested in shopping Michael Del Zotto. The big question for the Red Wings is whether the Rangers would be willing to take Quincey (and perhaps a draft pick) for Michael Del Zotto.

According to Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun, New York's asking price is simply "a blueliner in return."

This is great news for the Red Wings, as Quincey is a top-four defenseman on most nights and has actually been playing almost three more minutes of ice time, at 20 minutes and 39 seconds per contest, than Del Zotto has at just 18 minutes of ice time.


Why the Deal Works for Both Sides

The Rangers have apparently been dealing with consistency issues from Del Zotto.

Larry Brooks of the New York Post voiced his opinions on the Rangers defenseman, stating that he "has grown more and more unstable in his own end and erratic all over the ice. His decision-making is questionable...too often skating into trouble and putting the puck into bad ice rather than make quick and safe plays."

Sound familiar, Red Wings fans? Kyle Quincey seems to have trouble making the simple and easy plays, too.

So why Del Zotto over Quincey?

The simple fact of the matter is that if Quincey is flipped for a simple draft pick, the Red Wings would have to bring up a player from the minors.

As St. James alluded to in her article, the players would be one of "Xavier Ouellet, Ryan Sproul [or] Adam Almquist. None should be reserve players in Detroit, however — they either need to play or stay in the minors — which is why it would be worth seeing whether Quincey can be flipped for a cheaper veteran."

Enter Del Zotto.

At 23, Del Zotto could benefit from a change of scenery. He has shown the ability to play NHL minutes—albeit inconsistently this season—but would save the Red Wings from exposing one of Almquist, Ouellet or Sproul to NHL action before general manager Ken Holland wants them to play.

Del Zotto is a restricted free agent after this season, so a decision could be made to either extend him or trade him at a later date.


Why Detroit Gets the Better of This Deal

As Rangers beat writer Andrew Gross points out, trading Del Zotto now would be selling him at a low value and thus would make it easier for the Red Wings to hypothetically acquire him.

Not only would Detroit be acquiring the services of an NHL defenseman, but they would also make room for DeKeyser to come off of the long-term injured reserve without having to waive another player (save for Cory Emmerton who is already exempt from waivers for the foreseeable future, having cleared once).

The proposed roster, per CapGeek, with Emmerton waived, DeKeyser brought off of long-term injured reserve and Del Zotto acquired for Quincey, would have the Red Wings with even more cap space.

The Red Wings would get the rights to Del Zotto, while the Rangers would only get Quincey for this season unless he was bundled with a draft pick.


What Is Holding The Deal From Happening?

Brooks also described the qualifications for the proposed replacement for Del Zotto.

Del Zotto assuredly can be had, but the Rangers would need to receive a defenseman in return who is capable of handling the nearly 19 minutes a night on the right side that No. 4 chews up. They would need to get someone capable of handling more minutes if any of the Blueshirts’ top four were to be struck by injury.

Quincey has spent a lot of his time in the defensive zone in this position. His plus-minus numbers have shown the negative results.
Quincey has spent a lot of his time in the defensive zone in this position. His plus-minus numbers have shown the negative results.Dave Reginek/Getty Images

The fact of the matter is that Quincey is still a left-handed defenseman and while he could play the right side and chew up more minutes as he has for the bulk of this season, he hasn't really played the right side for the Red Wings this season so far.

If Detroit could sell the fact that Quincey could play the right-hand side if necessary (he can't really be much worse than he has been at playing the left side), then Detroit could fulfill the qualifications that Brooks laid out in his article.


Why Ken Holland Needs to Make it Happen

Hockey beat writer Renaud Lavoie of the Journal de Montreal, stated on Dec. 2 via his Twitter account that the Del Zotto deal is on hold for the moment.

If it could take some time, then Detroit should jump in the mix and kill two birds with one stone; acquire Del Zotto and ship out Quincey and his contract.

Holland needs to put this cap situation to rest once and for all. He cannot continue to count on players to be injured and make use of the LTIR.

If the Red Wings can pull this off, they would be home free as far as cap and player restrictions are concerned for the foreseeable future.


All statistics via NHL.com or CapGeek.com.