Since the Red Wings’ season came to an unceremonious end, we’ve trotted out the second year’s worth of Pro/No profiles, in a joint venture with our brothers at Winging it in Motown. We’ve asked you, our dear readers and members of the best damn hockey community on the interwebs, to give their vote — should the Wings keep their upcoming free agents or allow them to walk in search of greener pastures? We did our best to lay out the details — reasons they’d be welcomed back, reasons they may no longer have a place in Detroit, and any intangibles that certainly weigh into any general manager’s decisions. Unfortunately, any decisions that were left to be made…. have been made… but it’s certainly interesting to see how the fan-base voted, especially since voting closed long before any retirement or trades were announced.
This morning, we’re happy to share the results of those votes. We’ve got the defensemen and a goaltender; and Winging it in Motown has the forwards.
Brad Stuart, defenseman, #23
32 Years Old (November 6, 1979)
6’2″ :: 215 lbs
12 Full NHL Seasons (4 with Detroit)
Born in Rocky Mountain House
PRO-STUART :: 42.72%
NO-STUART :: 50.00%
UNSURE :: 7.28%
For most of us, the writing was on the wall. We all new he wanted to be back in California with his wife, step-daughter, and two sons. As we mentioned, he was a good soldier for much longer than most of us would have lasted in his situation, and he certainly earned the right to play closer to home and be happy — but he might have to take less than he would make on the open market to make that happen. Alas, his exclusive negotiating rights were traded to the San Jose Sharks on Sunday, so the votes were pretty much for naught.
It’s pretty clear that nearly 43% of fans thought that the Wings should bring him back, all things equal. If it was strictly a hockey decision, it would have been an easy one, especially with Nicklas Lidstrom announcing his retirement on May 31st. Voters thought it may have been possible to convince him to stay in Detroit, or that if he was able to be re-signed to a reasonable contract, he should be.
Kyle Quincey, defenseman, #27
26 Years Old (August 12, 1985)
6’2″, 207 lbs
4 Full NHL Seasons
Born in Kitchener, Ontario
PRO-QUINCEY :: 63.99%
NO-QUINCEY :: 21.21%
UNSURE :: 14.80%
Clearly, acquiring Kyle Quincey was a contingency plan in case Brad Stuart departed and Nicklas Lidstrom retired. Both of those things happened, and it may be completely devastating to lose a third member of the season-ending blueline. Voters felt the same way, with just under 64% of ballots cast in favor of keeping Quincey for another go-around with the Red Wings. Despite our admission that his play was erratic during the play0ffs, the thought of losing another defenseman with the unknown fates of the aforementioned guys was too overwhelming and the majority hopes Q sticks around.
What’s interesting to acknowledge is that among the three players we’re focusing on at The Production Line, Quincey had the highest “pro” vote, but also had the highest “unsure” vote. Perhaps that’s a symptom of his late-season acquisition, or perhaps it’s a symptom of people hoping to have more facts (Stuart’s departure, Lidstrom’s retirement, new acquisitions via trade or free agency) before committing to a significant payday for Kyle Quincey.
Ty Conklin, goaltender, #29
36 Years Old (March 30, 1976)
6’0″, 184 lbs
8 NHL Seasons (2 with Detroit)
Born in Phoenix, but raised in Alaska
PRO-CONKS :: 3.20%
NO-CONKS :: 93.60%
UNSURE :: 3.20%
Well, there’s no doubt about this one. Conklin had a rough year in Detroit and played his way into Grand Rapids. With the excellent play of Joey MacDonald, Conklin was viewed — with no question — as completely expendable, despite the uncertainty of Joey Mac’s back. Nevertheless, there are a few guys who are intriguing that will be hitting the open market, and the Wings have been clear that they’re comfortable heading into training camp with Howard and MacDonald if they don’t land one of them.
The fans have spoken, too: they’re perfectly comfortable with that, too. With over 93% of voters voicing their distrust of Conklin’s play and — despite his class act-ness — thought his time with the Red Wings should come to an end on July 1st. Like JJ mentions in his write-up of Darren Helm (who waited the longest for someone to vote “no”), Conklin was the guy on this list who waited the longest for a vote to go against the grain. It was 12 minutes of No votes before a Pro vote hit the wire and that’s significant in our digital age. Truth be told, he only received 4 Pro votes in 48 hours, in what was — by a mile — the lowest vote-gathering player profile.
Photo Credits: Getty Images; Dave Sandford, Getty Images; Getty Images