Kyle Quincey got a slight raise from the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, signing a two-year, $8.5 million contract to remain in the Motor City.
But should Kyle Quincey have been paid that much? Would Quincey have gotten that somewhere else? It’s hard to say.
The Red Wings were known to be heavily interested in Matt Niskanen and Dan Boyle, who were considered two of the top defencemen on the market, even willing to overpay them to make the deals happen.
Instead, Niskanen went to the Washington Capitals on a seven-year, $40.25 million contract, and Boyle went to the New York Rangers for two years and $9 million.
Given free agency’s status as the NHL’s arms race, Ken Holland had to look elsewhere instead of getting his top targets.
Instead, he settled for the commodity he knew: Kyle Quincey.
The contract itself is a $475,000 raise from the $3,775,000 annual cap hit he got from the Red Wings over the last two seasons. The question here is whether the raise is deserved, or whether he would have gotten that much if Niskanen or Boyle had signed.
It’s a simple question of supply and demand in the case of Kyle Quincey. Teams are always looking for ways to get better, and boosting the defence corps may be the most important way to do it, as forwards are almost always available while goaltenders rarely reach the open market.
Defencemen are somewhere in the middle, just because there aren’t as many available. Therefore, defenceman perceived as potential difference-makers will almost always come at a premium.
I don’t believe Kyle Quincey to be a difference-maker on defence, but now he’s being paid like one. He became an NHL regular with the Los Angeles Kings in 2008-09, but his production has gone down every year since then, and he’s been a minus player in four of his six full seasons. Even though he’s big, he hasn’t been consistent throughout his career.
That’s not the kind of player I want to be paying in the same salary range as San Jose’s Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Vancouver’s Dan Hamhuis, or St. Louis’s Kevin Shattenkirk. Willie Mitchell‘s another one I wouldn’t pay in that range, but Florida’s a slightly different story, as they try to get to the salary cap floor.
However, if we go back to supply and demand, supply went down once Niskanen and Boyle went off the market. As a result, Ken Holland felt he had to overpay to keep Kyle Quincey in the fold, when he’s probably somewhere between Ron Hainsey ($8.5 million over three years) and Mark Fayne ($14 million over four years).
I wouldn’t have given him any more than $3.5 million per season, and it’s not the first (or last) time we’ll see something like this. But, in a world where Brooks Orpik will make $5.5 million per season, I guess the rule is to follow the money.
The Detroit Red Wings laid out a money trail for free agent defencemen, but only Kyle Quincey followed it.