I think only one word can describe the current State Of The Red Wings Defense: Yikes. Let’s take a look at the current team and pretend these are the Wings top 6 for next season:
According to CapGeek, here are the current blue-liners under contract for next season and their respective cap hits:
- Kronwall – 4.75M
- Ericsson – 3.25M
- White – 2.875M
- Kindl – .883M
- Smith – .875M
- Quincey – RFA – he made 3.125M last season. I expect something similar for his next contract.
Once again: Yikes. I’m going to give a brief summary of each player and see where he fits in on the blue line.
Kronwall – Can be a top defender. I don’t know if he’s necessarily a typical number one, but he’s definitely no worse than a number two. Plays on the power play and penalty kill.
Ericsson – I know he has his “$h1tbox” moments, but he’s much better than most Wings fans give him credit for. Not much of an offensive threat, but very important to the penalty kill. Size is a huge advantage that he still needs to use more often.
White – A stretch for the top four as far as defensively, but he is a right handed shot, which helps immensely. Will probably play the top power play unit with Kronwall.
Kindl – He’s the perfect seventh defenseman in the NHL. He’s good enough to get by, but I doubt he’s an everyday player in this league. Seems like a good guy for the organization, but his hockey skills just aren’t quite enough.
Smith – I think he has top four potential this season. He reminds me of a young Kronwall. If he doesn’t play on a consistent basis, Babcock needs to have his head examined. Could be an asset to the power play; doubt he’ll get much PK time, but I wouldn’t be against it, at least to start the season.
Quincey – Was a disaster with the Wings at the end of the season, but is much better than he played. I think he could be a good number four. We’ll have to see how good of a Training Camp he has before we can really judge him.
Based on that analysis, the current lines would probably be:
The power play guys would be Kronwall, Smith, White and Quincey/Kindl. The penalty kill would consist of Kronwall, Ericsson, Quincey, and…Smith or White. Yeah…yikes.
Let’s play worst case scenario here – the Wings do not sign anybody significant and this is the top six going into the season. I’m not going to lie here – I have a hard time seeing the team make the playoffs (figures, the year I finally get a 20 game season ticket plan…), even with no injuries. If any of these guys gets a significant injury, it could get downright ugly. I guess this is what happens when your best two defensive defenseman are no longer with the team…
It’s beyond obvious what the Wings need help on the blue line in the next year or two. And by help, I mean players’ names that rhyme with Bryan Ruter this season and Ray Leber next season. Some Wings fans may disown me for saying this, but I still want Shea Weber on my team. I know what he did with Hank. Total douche move, I get it. But, he’s too good not to go after as soon as possible. And Ryan Suter is almost as good only he goes more under the radar due to Weber having the rocket slap shot.
I don’t think many of the secondary defenseman are nearly as solid. Dennis Wideman? I mean, he’s better than some players, but he’s not a huge game changer. Jason Garrison? Is he a one year wonder? There’s just not much out there. Here’s the UFA list. Also, they won’t be cheap. It’s obvious I am more “pro Big E” than most, and even I think his $3.25M a season for three seasons is too high. He probably could have had over $4M on the open market. Regardless of what the Wings do, at least we’ll all get a good laugh on July 1st when other teams sign players to horrible contracts. Those make me happy when other teams do it.
There you have, my thoughts on the current state of the Wings defense. One word: Yikes. If you have any thoughts or want to call me bad names, yell at me on the Twitters: @KevinN37
Note: Less than 14 days until Free Agency begins. Let’s do it, Kenny!