CHICAGO – Ken Holland has big plans for Kyle Quincey after bringing the former Red Wings defenseman back to Detroit on Tuesday in a three-way trade.
The Wings' general manager said Quincey gives the Red Wings more depth on the blue line and can slot in just about anywhere among Detroit's top-six defensemen. Holland also said Quincey could see time on the second power-play unit and one of the penalty-killing units. In addition, Quincey is already familiar with many of his new teammates – he spent parts of three seasons with the Wings after Detroit chose him in the fourth round of the 2003 NHL Draft.
Still, there was a common mantra mixed into Holland's thoughts about the trade – which required the Red Wings to send 24-year old defense prospect Sebastien Piche plus their first pick in the 2012 NHL Draft to the Tampa Bay Lightning, who first acquired Quincey from the Colorado Avalanche to start the deal.
"I don't think there's any one reason you make this deal, unless it's a complete rental, and this isn't a rental," Holland told NHL.com prior to Detroit's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on Tuesday night. "We paid a bigger price than a rental price, but he's [a restricted free agent], he's 26 and he's really just coming into his prime. We're trying to get deeper on the back end as we head into this year's playoffs, but he also is part of our team going forward."
Quincey, who's making $3.125 million this season according to Capgeek.com, was also part of the Red Wings going backward.
After breaking into the League with Detroit and playing just 13 regular-season games spread over three years – along with a 13-game playoff stint in 2007 – Quincey was claimed off waivers by the Los Angeles Kings prior to the 2008 season. Quincey scored four goals with 34 assists in 72 games that season with the Kings, who then traded him to Colorado – where he played for almost three seasons until Tuesday's trades that sent him back to Detroit.
Now that he's come full circle, Quincey is excited to be a Red Wing again.
The way it looks initially, Quincey is expected to be in uniform and play his first game back with Detroit on Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks – when the Red Wings will be trying to extend their NHL-record home winning streak to 24 games.
"I'm coming to a great team and have a chance to win a [Stanley] Cup," he said on a conference call with reporters in Chicago on Tuesday night. "That's your dream as a kid growing up. Just coming home, where I got drafted, obviously I know pretty much every single one of the guys on the team – which is kind of weird. I'm just looking forward to it. Anxious to get there."
This time around, Quincey brings with him experience and should slot into a regular role on one of the Wings' three defense pairings – likely next to Jonathan Ericsson on the third pair to start. Red Wings coach Mike Babcock wasn't available for comment prior to the game, but Holland said his coaching staff now has even more defense combinations to conjure up. Detroit was already loaded with a solid, productive defense corps – and gets even deeper with Quincey.
"He's a top four D-man in Colorado and he's played 20-plus minutes a night," Holland told NHL.com. "He can play the second power play. He can play with Nick Lidstrom. He can play with Ericsson. He can play with [Ian White]. He gives Mike Babcock options."
Quincey said he spoke with Holland after the trade, but wasn't informed exactly what his role will be. Suffice to say he's happy just to be back on the ice in a Red Wings uniform, like he started out.
Thus far, Lidstrom has formed the top pairing with Ian White – and both have plus/minus ratings approaching 30 – while Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart have made up the second pairing most of the time. Ericsson has shared time on the third pairing with both 25-year old Jakub Kindl and veteran Mike Commodore.
"Just from the outside looking in, I really don't know much but we've got great chemistry in the top four [already] and I played with [Ericsson] down in the minors," Quincey said. "If that's where I start, that's fine with me. Just go from there."
The Wings also announced that star center Pavel Datsyuk needed minor arthroscopic surgery on his knee Tuesday morning and will be out between two and three weeks. Detroit could put Datsyuk on the injured reserve list to make room for Quincey and still keep Commodore and Kindl around.
The question becomes: "Is eight defensemen enough or too much?"
Holland answered that one with a smile.
"If we're going to go anywhere, we're going to need more than six D," he said. "Now we've got eight. I'd rather have too many than not enough. You can't have enough defensemen in the NHL. They're hard to find."
This season, Quincey had a minus-1 rating in 54 games for Colorado, but was the Avs' leading scorer from the back end with five goals, 18 assists and three power-play markers to go with 60 penalty minutes. He's also 6-foot-2, 207-pounds and can match up against big opposing forwards.
"Kyle Quincey's a good, solid pro," Holland told NHL.com. " I don't think he's a star, but he's a good, solid NHL player that gives us depth now, gives the coach options – plus he's 26 and he's restricted. He could be a guy who could be here for a few years."
Quincey is also the latest in a number of players Holland has brought back into the fold after initially watching them leave town.
"We know him and probably never should've let him go in the first place … but we did," Holland told NHL.com. "We reacquired Igor Larionov when he went to Florida many years ago and brought him back. I reacquired Chris Osgood and I re-acquired Dominik Hasek and have now re-acquired Kyle Quincey. Again, it's not a rental. We're trading a first-round draft pick for a 26-year old defenseman that can play in the NHL for a number of years."