Grading the Detroit Red Wings free agency, opening week

The first week of the NHL free agency period is nearly complete, here’s a glimpse at how the Detroit Red Wings fared.


  • Kyle Quincey (Defenseman): $8.5 million over two years
  • Riley Sheahan (Forward): $1.9 million over two years


  • Kevin Porter (Forward): One year on a two-way contract


  • David Legwand (Forward) to the Ottawa Senators, $6 million over two years

Red Wings’ Free Agents

  • Daniel Alfredsson, Tomas Tatar, Danny DeKeyser, Daniel Cleary, Mikael Samuelsson, and Todd Bertuzzi

Remaining Cap Space: $9.5 million with 20 out of possible 23 NHL roster spots filled (including Tomas Jurco on a two-way contract).

Detroit Red Wings

After Kyle Quincey essentially got a raise when all top free agent right-handed defenseman decided to avoid coming to Detroit, Hockeytown fans have been outspoken in their frustrations about the man behind the controls; general manager Ken Holland. On some levels it’s not entirely Holland’s fault that the Wings have had a lackluster free agency period so far. I mean to his credit at least the Wings sent out offers to bring in Matt Niskanen, Dan Boyle, and Christian Ehrhoff, it just so happened that all three wanted defensemen rejected the idea of playing for the Detroit Red Wings.

Thus enter Kyle Quincey as the backup plan. Actually I’m not sure if I can even call it a “backup plan.” The Wings don’t seem to have any plans at moment. They seem stuck in a stall pattern waiting for someone to swoop in and rescue them. They are lost in unchartered waters with a simple yet huge decision to make: throw a few prospects overboard to get an impact player or ride out the storm with who they have.

Nearly a week into free agency and the Red Wings are still straddling both options. If a decision isn’t made soon the Wings are going to be left stranded with a sinking ship. It’s either one or the other, there is no middle ground. The longer Ken Holland waits without making a clear and defined decision he will give Hockeytown fans every right to be on his case for potentially tearing down the Wings’ dynasty.

It’s extremely simple. Pick a side: are we going all-in or are we going to fold our cards to be able to play the next hand. Both have their own unique risks, but at least we are playing the game and not sitting at the table watching our chips disappear.

So, what can Ken Holland do?

detroit red wings

Tatar seems to be the trade bait everyone is after, but are the Wings willing to give up their energetic play maker?

The all-in approach would see Holland make a trade, preferably for a right-handed defenseman, which in return forces him to give up one of the Wings’ coveted prospects (Nyquist, Tatar, Jurco, etc.). The folding of the cards approach means Holland re-signs Tatar and DeKeyser and shuts down shop. That would leave an open roster spot for an up-and-coming prospect, perhaps a certain Anthony Mantha.

It would seem the Wings are closer to the staying with the prospects approach, but the re-signing of Kyle Quincey and rumors floating around about trading for Tyler Myers would jeopardize all of that.

As it stands now I have no choice but to grade the Detroit Red Wings’ opening week of free agency with an F. It has been nothing but a complete failure and without a plan of action Ken Holland is going to drive the Red Wings into the ground.

For the sake of Detroit and everything that is great about hockey, I really hope this isn’t the beginning of the end for the Red Wings. Please Ken Holland, I’m begging you, make the decision and stick to it.

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  • 547984

    Yep, it’s a time where you don’t see Detroit landing all the big names in free agency anymore. Happened with Suter. Happened again this year.

    Niskanen just wanted the most money. Wings offered 38.5. Boyle just plain out didn’t want to come. And we’re left with a more expensive Quincey…

    I think we should just re-sign DDK and Tatar now, as surely the asking price on Myers is too high.

    • Alex Eisen

      That’s what I’m thinking as well. Everyone knows by now that the Wings are desperate and they are going to use that to their advantage by overpricing for anyone the Wings want.

      So, time to just limit the losses, bunker down, and hope the prospects can pull us through.