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Is Kyle Quincey the Worst?

Stop punching my hand, guys. That really hurts.
Stop punching my hand, guys. That really hurts.
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Kyle Quincey is not a popular man among Detroit fans. On a defensive corps which has struggled, Quincey has stood out as among the biggest problems. We've gotten to the point where even the beat writers are suggesting he be traded.

We've analyzed him before, coming to the conclusion that maybe he's simply playing out of place and perhaps not a sentient pile of lost socks wearing a Flynn Rider mask and animated by the spite of bitter fanbases to bring pain to Detroit hockey fans. But, whether or not it's all his fault or the coaching/management, the hard-to-deny truth is that Kyle Quincey and the Red Wings have gone as well together as Kyle Quincey and a plus rating this season.

So I don't really care what the reason for the struggle is. Today we're here to answer a simple question: Is Kyle Quincey the most-hated defenseman the Red Wings have employed in recent memory? To test this, we'll run up a list of candidates and compare them on a few categories:

  • Does he objectively suck at hockey?
  • How disliked is he?
  • How easy is he to hate?

Let's get to the candidates. For the sake of sanity, I'm only going back to the 2004-05 lockout, because that's when the Wings by-and-large stopped having scapegoat goalies and started having scapegoat defensemen. Here we go.

1. Jonathan Ericsson (Prior to 2011)

Jonathan Ericsson

#52 / Defenseman / Detroit Red Wings



Mar 02, 1984

I'm cheating here because it's been two seasons since he was largely despised by Wings fans and they've come around on him since then. You can still find pockets of people who don't believe in Riggy and some who still downright despise his presence on the team, but for the most part, Ericsson is recognized as one of the mainstays on defense for the Red Wings.

...and boy what a road to redemption this guy had.

Does he Objectively Suck at Hockey?

In 2009-10, Ericsson was the most-sheltered D-Man on the Red Wings as far as quality of competition usage and had the worst relative possession metrics among what we'll charitably call his peers. This was a 102-point squad with a +13 goal differential and a defenseman in Ericsson who put up a -15 rating and led everybody in penalties taken. Only Jakub Kindl had a higher rate of being scored on (and Kindl played just 3 games). He certainly wasn't good.

Rating: 15/18 flat tires on a big rig truck.

How Disliked Is He?

The "Jonathan Ericsson Sucks" Facebook page has only 22 likes and hasn't posted since 2012, but I had a lot of fun reading this thread. I think it captured lots of the criticisms fans had of Ericsson, both valid and fuckpuppet-stupid.

Rating: 1/2 swallowed feet.

How Easy is He to Hate?

For one, he's handsome, which works against him because it's easier to hate pretty people when they're bad at hockey. For two, he had an amazing prelude to his struggles with the way he played in the 2008-09 playoffs before a bad freshman campaign and a brutal sophomore slump. Still, the guy was the very last draft pick and always had the "still learning how not to be a forward" excuse working for him.

Rating: 5/6 Swedish defensemen above Ericsson on the Olympic depth chart for his country.

2. Derek Meech

Derek Meech

#7 / Winnipeg Jets



Apr 21, 1984

He played 126 games with the Red Wings and even has his name on the Stanley Cup with them (after the team specifically petitioned to make it happen). The sometimes-forward was just never good enough at any position to stick with a stacked Wings club and ended up too hurt to catch on with the Jets. He started this season in the KHL, where he got posterized early on (He's #7 in that video).

Does He Objectively Suck at Hockey?

Meech never caught on, ended up out of the NHL, and now apparently has parted ways with his KHL club amid health concerns. His ability to play both forward and defense was interesting, but this is a game of specialties and a jack of all trades who's a master at none isn't going to last long.

Rating: 29/29 teams passing over him on the waiver wire.

How Disliked is He?

Rating: 0/5 people whose radars he's on.

How Easy is He to Hate?

Listen, if you don't personally know Derek Meech and have some sort of very deep and private reason to dislike him, there's no hockey reason to dislike Meech. I feel badly enough having included him in this list that I'm considering taking this entry out. Derek Meech did everything ever asked of him and always held a great attitude; he just wasn't good enough to stick.

Rating: -10/100 fake made-up points.

3. Andreas Lilja

Andreas Lilja

#6 / Philadelphia Flyers



Jul 13, 1975

For almost 300 of his 580 regular season NHL games, Andreas Lilja was a Red Wing. In five seasons, the big stay-at-home defenseman scored six goals and racked up 315 PIMs. Most-impressively, he earned 98 penalty minutes in 2005-06 without a single one of those penalty minutes coming from a major or misconduct. He improved the longer he was with the Wings, but had the late stages of his Detroit career cut short, having missed an entire calendar year with concussion problems after a nasty fight.

Does He Objectively Suck at Hockey?

Out of all the players on this list, nobody got into more NHL games than Lilja. Right now, he's playing in the second tier of professional hockey in Sweden, so it's safe to say his NHL days are over, but there was a time when he'd have likely made the everyday top six of just about any club.

Rating: 1 of 11 Red Wings Cup wins he has his name on.

How Disliked Is He?


To my knowledge, he's the only one who was hated enough for somebody to ask all of Yahoo what was up with him.

Rating: 5/5 different teams he played for whose fanbases are happier without him.

How Easy is He to Hate?

This one always felt more like a guy who wasn't as good as the incredibly good defensemen he played with. Lilja was always serviceable at least. Plus, when the Wings were in the process of getting their shit rearranged into little figurines of forest animals giving them the middle finger by the Predators back in 2009, Lilja was the only guy with the bright idea to grab somebody on the other team and start a fight to fire up his team. Of course, that's the fight that gave him the concussion which caused him to miss 12 months of hockey action and the Wings went on to lose that game 8-0, but the effort was at least appreciated.

Rating: 600,000/1,250,000 dollars earned on his first contract after leaving the Wings compared to dollars earned the previous year in Detroit.

4. Brett Lebda

Brett Lebda

#23 / Columbus Blue Jackets



Jan 15, 1982

More than 300 games played with the Wings, Lebda was a good-skating offensive-minded defenseman whose career high in goals scored was six... six goddamn goals. Offensive defenseman Lebda is the guy who once went -3 in a game in which his Maple Leafs beat their opponents 9-3. The Notre Dame alum hasn't played a game above the AHL level since 2011-12.

Does he Objectively Suck at Hockey?

I tried calculating the odds of going -3 in a game where your team wins by a 9-3 score and my calculator graphed a noose and then quit working.

Rating: 2/2 Original Six fanbases who wish they had never heard of him.

How Disliked Is He?




How Easy is He to Hate?

Rating: 8/8 Defensemen who inexplicably got pushed below him on the depth chart in Detroit.

5. Kyle Quincey

Kyle Quincey

#27 / Defenseman / Detroit Red Wings



Aug 12, 1985

Now on his second stint with the Wings, the 2003 4th round pick was re-acquired in exchange for a first-rounder in 2012. He's played 112 games with the Wings since re-joining them and has 14 points in that time. He had 23 points in the 54 games he played in Colorado the season he was traded to Detroit. The 28-year old is on the last year of a deal which will finally make him a UFA. He earns $3.75M against the cap.

Does he Objectively Suck at Hockey?

He went through a 226-game stretch away from Detroit where he played well, putting up 96 points in that time. If you read the link at the top of the article, you'd already know that I think it might just be that Quincey is a bad fit in Detroit and/or is being utilized incorrectly. Still, there are only 5 defensemen with worse plus/minus ratings in the entire league, and all of them are playing on teams worse than Detroit.

Rating: 20/22 CSSI minuses received for blowing a coverage leading to a goal this season.

How Disliked Is He?

Rating: 15/15 Tweets I had to omit from this list for various taste-related reasons.

How Easy is He to Hate?

I don't know if there's a scientific scale for it, but Kyle Quincey has the kind of face that always makes him look like he doesn't give a shit no matter what he's doing and if there were a way to measure how infuriating that is, he'd rank highly. That's not even his fault. His face pisses people off. That's the first thing people immediately recognize about you and a lot of people will see that and get an uncomfortable urge to hit him for no reason other than the way his mug looks. Amazingly, the Germans actually have a word for this (it's "backpfeifengesicht")

That's not even to mention the insane amount of shot attempts he gets blocked or the penalties he takes. Just his face.

Rating: Over 9,000

- - -

Ok, so counting up the ratings objectively, I think it's safe to say that right now, Kyle Quincey is the most-disliked Red Wings defenseman of the salary cap era. Just like his face thing, it's not entirely his fault. Quincey is a struggling D-Man on a team that very much needs to have fewer struggling D-men. Lebda was almost certainly worse at hockey, but his presence was more an entertaining sideshow that was at times a fun distraction to an otherwise dominant team.

The combination of him being bad at the worst time for him to be bad is like the blood on Ryan Getzlaf's face after Kyle Quincey boarded him: It fucked him.

[honorable mentions for the category: Brendan Smith, Ian White.]