On Wednesday, Red Wings GM Ken Holland decided to place defenseman Derek Meech on waivers.
Meech was signed to a one-year, $500,000 qualifying offer over the summer, which put Detroit in the driver's seat with regards to Meech's future.
At the time, the Wings were unsure of their defense situation, and securing Meech was more or less an insurance move if and when they failed to secure the veteran sixth-defenseman the team was targeting.
However, the signing of Ruslan Salei last month shored up Detroit's defense and, as such, has left Derek Meech expendable.
Now, in and of itself, I don't think saying goodbye to Derek Meech is worthy of tears.
He was certainly an energetic and eager player when given the chance to compete, but his small size and lack of all-around skill never did much to secure him a regular spot in the line-up.
However, if one goes back a couple of year to the 2008-09 season, the decision to waive Derek Meech today begins to sting quite a bit more than it should.
Back then, the Wings ended training camp with eight defenders that could legitimately play in the NHL.
The bottom two, Meech and Kyle Quincey, were the odd men looking in at the top six.
The Wings were only going to carry seven defensemen and, already pushed hard against the cap, one of the two had to be sent down to clear roster and cap space.
The problem with this was both would have to clear waivers in order to arrive safely tucked away in the AHL.
Having to choose between Meech and Quincey, Holland elected to send the latter down to the minors.
He never got there.
Immediately upon being waived, just four days into the regular season, Quincey was picked up by the Los Angeles Kings.
Within a week of arriving in Los Angeles, Quincey was a top four defenseman and found himself quarter-backing a power-play.
He finished the year having played 72 games, posting four goals and 34 assists in that time.
As for Meech, he appeared in 41 games, scoring two goals, and five assists.
We'll never know now, but it seems clear that had those 41 games been given to Qunicey, he would have made more of an impact than did Meech.
Quincey was traded the following season from LA to Colorado, where he's since become a No. 2 defenseman.
Had Holland decided to keep Quincey instead of Meech, Detroit's defensive corps for 2010-11 might very well include a top pairing of Lidstrom and Rafalksi, a second pair made up of Kronwall and Stuart, and a third duo of Ericsson and Quincey (the third pair representing 12' 7" of solid two-way ability).
Instead, Meech is headed out of town in favor of an aging stay at home defender in Salei.
Holland doesn't make many mistakes, but the fact that he's now waiving Derek Meech, the man he opted for over Quincey, reveals an error in judgment that reverberates to this day.
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