Kyle Quincey has something of a thankless role on the Detroit Red Wings. Maybe because he’s the second-highest paid defenseman on the team, fans seem to expect him to play like a top pairing guy, even though he’s not. He plays a decent physical game but isn’t known for laying people out like Niklas Kronwall, and he doesn’t offer much on the offensive end.
So to paraphrase the immortal words of Office Space, what exactly is it you say Quincey does for the team? As luck would have it, that’s what we’re going to explore in today’s player review.
Looking Back at Kyle Quincey’s 2013:
Quincey had a tough year in more ways than one. Early on, when the Wings were still finding their way in front of Jimmy Howard, he bore much of the fans’ wrath for contributing to the seemingly endless parade of defensive zone turnovers that plagued the team.
But did he actually deserve all the flak he received? Quincey was on the ice for a bunch of goals in January, where he quickly played himself to a -5, and another stretch later in the season where he was -6 over nine games. Yet he finished +7 on the season, fourth on the team and second among D-men to Jakub Kindl, and his official giveaways were only middle of the pack among Detroit blueliners.
It’s also safe to say that Quincey took more than his fair share of physical abuse on the ice in 2013. In February he took a nasty high stick from Devin Setoguchi, an offense that earned the Minnesota forward a fine of just over $8,000. Things got even worse in March, when Quincey was struck in the face by a puck against the Edmonton Oilers and ended up missing nine games with a fractured cheekbone. He missed a few games with an ankle injury too.
In the 36 games he did play, Quincey logged plenty of ice time, avoided stupid penalties (just 18 PIM) and probably had more good games than bad. You can’t expect too much more from a non-elite defenseman than that. Oh, except for maybe some points, as Quincey’s one goal and two assists gave him the worst per-game production of any Wings defeseman not named Kent Huskins.
Looking Ahead to 2013-14:
Given his $3.775 million salary and the team’s need to shed some payroll if it wants to bring back Dan Cleary, it was popular early in the offseason to project Quincey as possible trade bait. The thing is, with Carlo Colaiacovo amnestied and Ian White not returning, the Wings kind of need Quincey around.
Detroit’s free agent acquisitions were both forwards, and there currently are only seven defenseman on the roster. Yes, only six suit up at a time, but if we learned anything from last season, it’s that people are going to get hurt. Sending Quincey out only makes sense if there’s another blueliner coming back.
That’s not impossible, but the most likely scenario is that Quincey remains a Red Wing for at least one more year, playing in the second pairing and doing things that don’t get him much love. My guess is he’s probably used to that by now.