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Quincey comes full circle

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
Kyle Quincey has rejoined the team that drafted him in 2003 when he was acquired in a three-way trade with Colorado and Tampa Bay this week. (Photo by Dave Reginek)
DETROIT – Red Wings coach Mike Babcock knows personnel moves don’t carry foolproof guarantees. But he’s sure glad a move that they made more than three years ago came full-circle when the Wings re-acquired defenseman Kyle Quincey in a three-way trade this week.

“Any time you make a decision to keep veterans and let kids go,” Babcock said, “there is always a chance that it will come back and bite you.”

Now that they’ve re-acquired Quincey, the Wings have a polished 26-year-old defenseman, something they didn’t have when they placed the 6-foot-2 Kitchener, Ontario, native on waivers before the start of the 2008-09 season.

Back then the Wings decided to keep Brett Lebda, Andreas Lilja and Derek Meech, while exposing Quincey to 29 other teams. The Los Angeles Kings claimed Quincey, and 10-months later the Kings traded him to Colorado for Ryan Smyth.

“There were a whole bunch of teams in the league like us that thought he was a real good player but didn’t have room for him,” Babcock said, of Quincey. “He got playing and he's played really well.

“We think, it's great for now and it's really great for the future of our team.”

Quincey, who played 13 games for the Wings spanning three seasons (2005-08), will be reunited with his old teammates tonight when Detroit hosts the Vancouver Canucks in a match-up of Western Conference elite at Joe Louis Arena.

“Just excited, I was pretty pumped coming back,” Quincey said, following Thursday’s morning skate. “The morning skate was just fun to be out there with all the boys again.

“For sure, going from here to L.A., not knowing anybody, expectations, I really didn't have much, didn't know what to expect. Going to Colorado, not knowing too many guys, just coming back here, having played with every single guy except three (Ian White, Mike Commodore, Drew Miller) is pretty unusual.”

Quincey is expected to play with Jonathan Ericsson on the Wings’ third defensive pairing, and on the second power play unit.

Quincey scored five goals with 18 assists in 54 games, while averaging more than 22-minutes of ice time for the Avs this season. He also chipped in with nine points, including three goals, on the power play.

The Wings have the eighth ranked power play unit in the league, scoring 40 goals on 210 opportunities.

“Getting a chance on the power play to play with these great players is a huge opportunity for me,” he said. “I'm really excited for tonight.”

Knowing how difficult it is to play against the Wings, Quincey said he’s thankful to be back with the organization that made him a fourth-round draft pick in 2003.

“This system by far, with Babs, is by far the best I've ever played in,” Quincey said. “It’s an absolute nightmare playing against these guys, so I'm glad I'm on the other side of the puck. I'm happy to be back in this system. I think it's good for everybody. Players with skill, they have so much of it here. By far the best system I've ever played in.”

And the Wings are equally as happy to add a much-improved Quincey back into the fold.

“I think it was just the opportunity, and with opportunity comes confidence,” Quincey said of his improvement. “Last time I was here I didn't have any confidence. I was just a young guy trying to squeak under the radar, but getting the opportunity and getting the confidence and knowing I can be a good player in the NHL, play good minutes, it's huge. I'm just so excited to come back to this team.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

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