After being drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the fourth round of the 2003 NHL entry draft, Kyle Quincey suited up for Detroit just a handful of times before being placed on waivers at the beginning of the 2008-09 season. Quincey was subsequently snatched up by the Los Angeles Kings and went on to have a great year, posting 38 points (four goals, 34 assists) in 72 games.
In the interest of full disclosure, yours truly looked back upon waiving Quincey as a noteworthy error on the part of Detroit general manager Ken Holland.
To be sure, this has become a minority opinion.
Indeed, even early on in the 2013-14 season things were so bad for Quincey—mainly because Quincey was so bad—that Detroit Free Press beat writer Helene St. James suggested that the Red Wings trade him out of town, and that was in December.
There’s no question that Quincey will never be confused with a Norris Trophy candidate. In fact, he’s likely to never be thought of as more than a fifth or sixth defenseman. Still, there’s reason to believe he may yet be of some utility to the Detroit Red Wings.
At 28 (he’ll be 29 in August), Quincey is still young enough to continue to develop into a more effective NHL player, and the Red Wings shouldn’t let him walk without talking to him first—more on that later.
As many Red Wings fans can attest, Quincey’s penchant for making ill-advised plays with the puck and relatively low hockey IQ—that is, his ability to determine what to do, where to be and when to do both—reveals he’s not likely to round into a top-four defender.
However, at 6’2” and 207 pounds, Quincey has size on his side. Additionally, he is particularly fleet of foot, and while he’s often had to demonstrate the value of this skill while skating his way out of mistakes, his mobility and size are noteworthy attributes.
Offensively, Quincey will never blow up the scoreboard. As it turns out, Quincey’s aforementioned totals in Los Angeles have held up as the best of his career.
Still, Quincey did appear in all 82 games for the Red Wings this season, and though he contributed just 13 points (four goals, nine assists) and a minus-five rating, the fact that somebody was healthy enough to be a reliable option on the blue line was beneficial in and of itself. In fact, considering Quincey was, at times, playing as a top-pair defender behind a decimated and offensively challenged forward corps, those totals might be better than they look.
Regardless, Quincey is no star, but he is a big, mobile, young, serviceable defenseman and a quick survey of free-agent defenders on CapGeek reveals such players are in short supply.
Then again, looking at Quincey’s 2013-14 salary of $4 million yielding a $3.75 million cap hit, one sees that Quincey was hardly worth that investment. While other NHL teams may be desperate enough to consider acquiring Quincey at a similar price, the Red Wings have already overpaid once and will not do so again.
That said, there’s no reason the Red Wings should not talk to Quincey at least once about a return engagement in Detroit.
Were they to secure Quincey via a two- to three-year deal at no more than $2 million per season, the Red Wings will have a young but experienced defender on a blue line made up largely of up-and-comers like Brendan Smith (25) and Danny DeKeyser (24). While those two in particular have demonstrated that their future lies within Detroit’s top four, someone still needs to skate on the third pair.
If the price is right, Quincey might just be that someone.