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The Kyle Quincey Conundrum

Kyle Quincey has struggled. But is there a better option?

More of this please
More of this please
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

I often have weird dreams. Usually they involve Victorian Secret models, jello and loud music my wife, but occasionally they branch out into stranger territory.

After the Wings' 2-1 loss to the Stars last night, I tossed and turned all night, my subconscious trying to make sense of what I witnessed. Visions of wild animals kept running through my head, and as I attempted to fire food into their open mouths while wearing my Wings' jersey, for some reason I kept firing high and wide.

Sadly, that wasn't the strangest part of my dream. At one point, the entire WIIM community teamed up with the A2Y crew, the Twitterati and random stragglers to grab pitchforks and torches and go after one Kyle Quincey.

That Quincey has struggled to start the season would be like me saying my daughters will likely cause me a little consternation in about 10 years: it's a massive understatement. The Wings had question marks on defense before the season started and is now as thin as the plot for any Jennifer Lopez movie, so it's imperative that Quincey improves since he's only one of 3 defensemen on the active roster with over 250 games of NHL experience.

Naturally, fans are more than happy to be patient with Quincey as he works through these early season struggles. When I say "happy", I mean that if most Wing fans knew where he lived he'd have an endless supply of flaming dog poop to extinguish.

"Get rid of the bum" they digitally shout to their computer screens. "He's worthless!" come the cries. "TRADE HIM RIGHT FUCKING NOW!" finally emerges as the fan gets it all out in some sort of therapeutic fit of rage.

But here's the problem; check that, there are actually two problems.

First, there's the whole issue of how exactly you're going to get him off the team. Trade him? To who? If Quincey is as bad as some people suggest, and other GMs know both this and the fact the Wings are desperate, then why would they ever accept a trade that puts Quincey on their team? What GM currently employed by an NHL team would willingly part with something of substance to acquire a player that Wing fans state is the worst defenseman within the organization?

Then there's the part raised by Chris in his post: what if he improves over the course of the season, increasing his viability as a trade asset? That's great, but if that happens, why would the Wings even think to move him? If the defense is so thin, why trade one of the few experienced defenders on the team? Further to that, if you believe you're going to trade Quincey straight up for a better defenseman, I want the name of your dealer. If the trade is for a draft pick, then you're essentially saying the Wings are rebuilding and this season is a waste.

So maybe you can't trade him. You can't release him. Maybe you bury him in the minors, and use a compliance buyout on him after the season. The Wings take a minor cap hit for the next few years, but it clears up a roster spot and gets him off the team.

I guess that could work, but then you face the second problem: who replaces him? If you're going to trade him for, oh I don't know let me pick a name off the top of my head, P.K. Subban, explain to me how that trade makes any sense unless you throw a few quality forward prospects and draft picks at the Canadiens. You're not getting his replacement via trade.

Perhaps Ken Holland could find a good UFA to fill his shoes. I mean, that's worked so well in the past. And checking out Capgeek and the list of defensemen who are going to be UFAs doesn't inspire me with a lot of confidence.

"Put a rookie in there" I hear you all say. Ok, I can get behind that. I haven't been shy about my desire to see this team start to get younger and incorporate new players that aren't over 35. But if you call up a guy like Adam Almquist to play Quincey's minutes, you're essentially taking from one pocket to fill the other. The only difference is that when Almquist (or Xavier Ouellet or any other call-up) makes a mistake you'll say "it's ok, he's a rookie". That's good and all, but if the team's desire is to win games right now (and that should always be the goal) and make the playoffs, then having 3 of your 6 defenseman be rookies is not the ideal way to do that.

There's no question that Kyle Quincey has got to pick up his game and play better than he has so far. If the Wings have any hope of turning this early funk around and start picking up points, he has to be one of the players that leads the charge to the playoffs. But to completely give up on him 3 games into the season seems like a defeatist attitude. Throw in the fact that the Wings can't afford to lose any more defensemen and I think you have to resign yourself to seeing Quincey on Detroit for the foreseeable future.