Continuing our look at pending UFAs, it's time to address the defense with Kyle Quincey. This past season, Quincey tried to do his best impersonation of Brent Burns by growing one of the NHL's biggest beards in an effort to gain Burns' powers. Whether or not the tactic worked is still up for debate (spoiler alert: the tactic didn't work).
#27 / Defenseman / Detroit Red Wings
Aug 12, 1985
Despite missing almost half the season dealing with bone chips in his ankle and surgery to remove said chips, Quincey was actually on pace to have a decently productive season (from a points perspective). With 11 points (4G, 7A) in 47 games, his 19-point pace was 1-point shy of his 20-point pace last season, his best since returning to Detroit. That's not exactly setting the world on fire, but this season's Red Wings team as a whole struggled to score.
Quincey was also on pace to keep the Wings out of as much trouble as last year, reducing his pace for penalty minutes. He posted a team-high 77 PIMs last season (an 86-minute pace), and reduced that to 36 minutes in his 47 games this season (a 62-minute pace). This placed him behind the paces of both Justin Abdelkader (120 minutes/82 games) and Brendan Smith (62 minutes/63 games) for time spent in the sin-bin.
Even with the improvements to his game, Quincey hasn't exactly been our top defender even though he gets deployed like he's in the top pairing. Per his Hero Chart (at www.OwnThePuck.com), over the past three seasons he classifies closer to a #4 or #5 defenseman who happens to be getting top pair minutes. His Warrior Chart isn't much kinder in its assessment, confirming major usage with minimal results - I've set him to compare against Danny Dekeyser in the chart, as they spent the most time paired together. Really, it looks like Quincey's only usefulness is in goal suppression - not a completely awful thing to be good at, but he needs to be able to help drive possession and scoring.
Speaking of scoring... Even though Quincey was set to have a fairly decent year by his own standards, a 19-point pace is still pretty underwhelming for a $4M+ player. The 19-points he was on pace for place him behind the likes of Jacob Trouba and Jay Bouwmeester, and the 11-points he did accumulate tie him for 143rd among defensemen. It's not like there aren't other defensemen out there with similar contracts and production - Adam Larsson of the New Jersey Devils, for example, posted 18-points in 82 games while making $4M+. But for a team that could face some tough cap constraints next year, is this money better spent elsewhere?
The eye test wasn't exactly spectacular for Quincey either. While he didn't really ever look consistently out of place, he didn't look dominant against competition either. He was never really bad, but was he worth his $4.25M price tag? That might be a tougher sell than asking if he was worth having at all. Coming out of the summer, he's sure to at least want to maintain his current salary. Is someone who belongs on the 3rd pairing worth $4M+?
Or would we be better off calling up another youngster from Grand Rapids to see what that crop of prospects can do? With several promising kids on the Griffins needing to either play with the big boys or be traded, opening Quincey's roster spot represents the easiest path for these guys to get time with the Wings. I mean, it's not like they're going to bench Jonathan Ericsson...