The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/03/12 at 09:18 AM ET
Cue the, “Oh, s***” alert: Expressen’s Linus Hugosson let me know via Twitter that he spoke to Red Wings director of European scouting Hakan Andersson recently, and Andersson told Hugosson that Brad Stuart is definitely leaving the Wings this summer.
As it’s 7 AM as I’m writing this and I haven’t slept since a mid-afternoon nap on Friday, here’s an incredibly rough translation of his article:
When the Detroit Red Wings gave up a first-round draft pick to acquire defenseman Kyle Quincey from Tampa Bay last week, some eyebrows were raised.
As I wrote in the analysis of the trade, the team’s management felt it was worth the high price to secure the future of the team’s defense.
The Red Wings are faced with an uncertain situation. General manager Ken Holland has worked hard to extend Brad Stuart’s contract with no success—and now, it looks like certain factors will send the defenseman back home this summer.
“Brad’s wife is from the West Coast, and he wants to move back there,” said Hakan Andersson, Detroit’s chief European scout, to the Pro Hockey Blog [Hugosson’s blog].
The 32-year-old Stuart came to Detroit from Los Angles for draft picks in 2008, and became one of the Red Wings’ most important defensemen on the way to their Stanley Cup victory later that spring.
The expectation was that Stuart would be moving back that summer, but Holland got him to sign a four-year contract.
Now the contract is about to expire—and Stuart won’t sign an extension.
“We’ve tried hard, but in vain,” says Hakan Andersson.
Therefore Detroit traded to acquire Kyle Quincey, a 27-year-old defenseman who can play 20-22 minutes a night for one of the best teams in the NHL.
“He’s young and plays a steady game, and with him we have a strong top four on defense even if Stuart leaves,” says Andersson.
Question: wasn’t it hard to give up a first-round draft pick for a player you once released through waivers?
Andersson: “Of course it was. That was a big mistake for the team, and we knew that Quincey would become a useful defenseman. Every time the coaches wanted to send a player, they’d remind [Holland], “He’s not going to be another Kyle Quincey?” All coaches want to have the best players, and they often believe that they’re on the free agent market, but that’s not always so.”
Question: What about Nicklas Lidstrom, then? Is he leaving Detroit in the summer?
Andersson: “Yeah, that’s a question we’re constantly thinking about,” says Hakan Andersson. “I think he’s being honest when he says he hasn’t decided whether he’s going to play another season or not. But if I were to guess, I think he’ll continue to play. He’s too good to quit, and I also believe that the Winter Classic in Detroit appeals to him. It would be strange to see him in the ranks of the alumni team the day before the real game.”
Of course I couldn’t let Hakan Andersson go without talking about the upcoming draft. Here are a few short questions and his answers regarding his thoughts about it.
Question: What’s this draft year look in terms of Sweden’s crop of prospects?
Andersson: “It’s good, as usual. There are top players that will go in the first round, and then there are a bunch of players that could go from the first to third rounds. I don’t think that there will be six or seven Swedes chosen in the first round, but some will be.”
“That’s why we’re also seeing lots of head scouts and assistant general managers traveling around in Sweden right now. Detroit’s Jim Nill will come here soon.”
Question: What have you heard from your colleagues in Europe? What’s the picture there?
Andersson: “I’ve also [traveled through Europe], and there are some interesting names in the Czech Republic, Russia, Finland, Slovakia and Switzerland, but the depth [of prospects there] isn’t as strong as Sweden’s.
Question: Ken Holland did as I said, trading your first round choice in the Quincey trade. Did he speak to you before doing so?
Andersson: “No, not really.”
Question: Were you surprised that he traded away his top pick?
Andersson: No, because I knew what the situation was regarding Stuart.
Question: How does this change your job, now that you probably won’t have a chance to draft a top prospect?
Andersson: Sure, our sights go down a bit, but you never know what will happen. There might be a trade that gives you a top pick in the summer. But I’m not taking Jim Nill to Leksand to watch Filip Forsberg, for example.”
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.