Due to Detroit's incredible success, it is not often that you see them selecting players in the top-20 in the draft. In fact, Jakub Kindl is the only player since Martin LaPointe (10th overall, 1991 NHL Entry Draft), to be selected in the top-20 as he was the 19th player off the board in '05.
Couple that with the NHL coming off a lost season, the Wings had high hopes that Kindl would develop into a top notch defenseman for the team. However, as we sit here today, wondering what has happened to the guy, the inevitable question comes to mind. Is Jakub Kindl done in Detroit?
First and foremost let me say this, I am a HUGE Jakub Kindl fan. It may be that I liked him for his underdog status or it may be that I just felt attached to the guy and have rolled with it ever since. You will probably not find another Wing fan with more support for the guy than I do. However, he has not lived up to his expectations. He hasn't developed in to a top-4 defenseman despite being 25 years old (turns 26 in two weeks) and playing full time with the Wings for the past two seasons.
Initially when he became a regular in 2009-10, he played pretty well as he split time with Ruslan Salei. That season Kindl ended up with 4 points in 48 games. Obviously, that is nothing spectacular offensively, but he played good on defense and there was no doubt hope among Wings fans that he would one day turn in to a top-4 type of guy.
However, the tide undoubtedly turned last season. Despite notching 13 points in 55 games, Jakub failed to elevate his game far enough to show that he could be a future cornerstone for the team. Furthermore, he struggled with injuries which was yet another reason that Kyle Quincey was acquired from the Colorado Avalanche (via TB).
At this point he has fallen to dead last on the Wings depth chart. He is even behind Kent Huskins, a guy who just recently joined the team, and Brian Lashoff, a guy who unless we had been hit with this wave of injuries on defense, would be spending the year in Grand Rapids. Currently, there doesn't seem like a way that Kindl starts the next season in Detroit and here is a list of reasons why:
- First of all, Jakub Kindl is set to hit restricted free agency this offseason. That is very important because while he won't want too much more money he will undoubtedly be wanting a raise. It also gives Detroit an easy way to let him go. They can either trade his rights or just simply not tender him a qualifying offer.
- The other big reason is because all of a sudden we have Brian Lashoff, and Chad Billins for that matter. They simply don't need another guy who is going to play the 6/7 role.
- And if they needed a guy to do so, it isn't too hard to find a guy like that in free agency and we already have that guy you can say in Kent Huskins.
- Kindl has had his shot with the Wings. Ken Holland should feel no obligation to keep him and letting him go won't be some big sob story.
Is he a bust? Kind of, he isn't a total bust in the sense that he did turn out to be an NHL player but he hasn't lived up to his potential. Just to show what might have been, these players were all selected after Kindl in that draft:
- Jonathan Quick
- Keith Yandle
- Kris Letang
Now, don't get me wrong, I would love to see the Wings extend Kindl after the season and that he turns in to a really solid defenseman, however, at this point it is safe to say that it probably isn't all too likely and that we probably won't see #4 on this roster next season.
Also, this certainly raises the question on if the Wings "Overripen" their players. I think that may be happening right now with Tomas Tatar who undoubtedly is of NHL caliber and keeping him down in the AHL may not be doing him any good.
Let me know your opinion on whether we should keep him or not, and if you don't believe that we should keep him, do we try to get rid of him now or do we wait until the offseason?