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Is Brad Stuart’s potential departure the reason the Red Wings acquired Kyle Quincey? Probably so

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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Comments

Rdwings28's avatar

I think this was pretty well felt and understood that he would be moving back to the left coast , despite Stuart’s comments all winter.

Posted by Rdwings28 on 03/03/12 at 09:54 AM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

George, I saw this on Twitter earlier in the week, but since you didn’t mention it then, I thought maybe it wasn’t true.  Oh well.  I’m not surprised.  Especially after what happened with Lokomotiv, I can well understand why Stu would want to be close to home and not only minimize the time he’s away from the family, but minimize the plane trips as well.  I will miss him so much.  He’s been my favorite - non Perfect Human - defenseman on the Wings team since ‘08.  But I understand.  It will just kill me, though, if he goes to the Snarks.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/03/12 at 11:01 AM ET

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Can’t say I’m surprised.  It will be tough to watch Brad play for one of the California teams, but would you want to be away from your family that much?

The whole situation is kind of interesting, because part of the reason Quincey was lost on waivers was because Brad waited until the morning of July 1, 2008 to agree to the 4 year deal.  Lilja had signed a 2 year deal the day before because they were convinced Stuart was not going to come back.  Had he signed sooner, Lilja never would have been given a contract and Quincey is never lost on waivers.

Posted by Eric Asmus from Sioux Falls, SD on 03/03/12 at 11:25 AM ET

MOWingsfan19's avatar

I’ve had a job where I traveled a LOT. Flying 100K plus miles a year and being gone 8-9 months a year. I can’t imagine living that lifestyle away from my wife and kiddo now. I can’t blame Stu one bit for wanting to be with his family.
As much as it’s going to leave a hole in the roster for a hockey team, there’s no subsitute for the hole in a family and the home life.
I am sure it’s a double edged knife for Stu, as he’ll be leaving the best job and place to work he’ll ever have in his life.
The least we can do is send him off with another Cup.

Posted by MOWingsfan19 from I really like our team on 03/03/12 at 11:27 AM ET

monkey's avatar

It will be interesting to watch.  Given that this basically limits him to three teams (Anaheim, San Jose, Los Angeles), will they low ball knowing he wants them at least as much as they want him, if not more, or will a bidding war erupt?  We saw the stupid prices being shelled out for defensemen in this past off season, so the latter seems a tad more likely.

As things stand right now the Kings do not have the cap space and already have quite a bit tied up on d.  San Jose has the space and would be a good fit.  Anaheim has a lot of UFA coming up and is probably going to go into some sort of rebuilding mode.  I call San Jose as the most likely California team for Stuart to sign with.

I hope that this is not true, however, and he ends up staying in Detroit.  Wings don’t often lose players they want to keep.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 03/03/12 at 11:41 AM ET

Red Winger's avatar

Damn

Posted by Red Winger from Sault Ste Marie on 03/03/12 at 11:43 AM ET

DrewBehr's avatar

Maybe we could talk him into retiring?

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 03/03/12 at 11:45 AM ET

DrewBehr's avatar

And I wouldn’t rule LA out of the Stuart Sweepstakes. They have a couple fairly sizeable contracts expiring (Penner, Stoll) and especially with just trading away Johnson, they might look to replace him.

Posted by DrewBehr from The Mitten on 03/03/12 at 11:49 AM ET

monkey's avatar

His family is more than welcome to move to Michigan…

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 03/03/12 at 11:51 AM ET

monkey's avatar

I didn’t rule anybody out.  I expect all three to be interested.  San Jose just seems most likely.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 03/03/12 at 11:52 AM ET

J.J. from Kansas's avatar

I’ll remain a Brad Stuart fan regardless of which unholy shitstain California team he chooses.

I just kind of hope it’s not the Sharks or Ducks.

Posted by J.J. from Kansas on 03/03/12 at 11:57 AM ET

WingedRider's avatar

Some other teams would have traded him at the deadline as this was reported , sort of, by Andersson prior to that.  Wings classy as they are didn’t do that. So Stuart is sort of our Rental for the rest of the year and to the CUP!

Next year with realignment/CBA (YUK), we will not see the Sharks very often I hope!

If CBA goes to Lockout a shortened season may affect Nick’s decision also, who knows.

Good decision by Stuart, IMO.  Family comes first!  Very tough to replace.  Suter will have many teams after him, so we will see what he wants , $$$ or a Cup contender? and Weber is RFA, so he is out of the mix for this Summer at least, I think.

Check out Blues record against Central Div teams compared to Wings, that will make you feel better for the games from now until the playoffs. (NHL.com)

Posted by WingedRider from Saskatoon, SK on 03/03/12 at 11:58 AM ET

Avatar

It is really going to be painful to see Stuie in a Sharts or Fuchs uniform. I could live with the Kings, I guess. Either way, family first. It’s going to be sorry seeing him go.

Posted by RyanVM on 03/03/12 at 12:23 PM ET

DocF's avatar

There is a legal issue that keeps Stuart’s family from moving to Michigan.  That makes it tough.  If the California teams try to low-ball him regarding a contract, he will end up back in Detroit.

He will not be near the player for any other team.  They want their defensemen to be all things to all people.  Stuart has simplified his game in Detroit and knows his roll.  He plays within his limitations. 

San Jose thought he should be great defensively and offensively.  That is not in his makeup. 

Doc

Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 03/03/12 at 12:40 PM ET

Avatar

I am a big Stuart fan and the Wings will miss him. But I respect his personal decision. Finish strong Brad and will be following you, but please go to the kings. If you end up at San Jose, please beat the crap out of Thornton in practice

Posted by Stanley's Cup from Illinois on 03/03/12 at 01:02 PM ET

monkey's avatar

Ah, I had never read or heard about the possible legal issue.  Found some speculation floating around, nothing concrete.  Stories always revolve around his step daughter, who, according to my crack research, should be 17 this year. 

So, given that she will be 18 relatively soon and that he’s been doing this from Detroit for the last four years, I don’t buy it.  I call shenanigans and an attempt to gain leverage in contract negotiations.  If so, I don’t blame him or feel badly or anything like that, it’s just business, in fact this scenario is better for us as it means the chances of him staying are actually much higher than we seem to be thinking they are right now.

I’m not saying there aren’t legitimate reasons why his family can’t move out of the San Jose area (I can’t possibly know what the details are, and her age may even be irrelevant), but they’ve made it work so far. 

If her age is relevant to whatever the issue or issues are, he only has to make it one more season.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 03/03/12 at 01:14 PM ET

monkey's avatar

This is getting too personal for my tastes.  I am going to struggle mightily to refrain from any further speculation regarding Brad Stuart’s family.

In any case, I’m betting he stays in Detroit.

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 03/03/12 at 01:21 PM ET

HockeyTownTodd's avatar

Some other teams would have traded him at the deadline as this was reported , sort of, by Andersson prior to that.  Wings classy as they are didn’t do that. So Stuart is sort of our Rental for the rest of the year and to the CUP!

The Wings can still trade his ‘rights to negotiate’ prior to the July 1st deadline, and that may be already arranged.

Posted by HockeyTownTodd on 03/03/12 at 01:29 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

I love Stu and I don’t want him to go.  Period.  If he goes, I want it to be with another Stanley Cup ring.

And if he does go, like JJ, I will always be a fan and I won’t hate him no matter what. 

I can guarandamntee though, that he won’t be nearly as happy on any other team as he is with the Wings.  And he knows it. 

So I’m not willing to bet he stays in Detroit, but I don’t think the door is closed yet.

Earlier in the season, Holland said he and Stu would not even be talking until after the season ends.

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 03/03/12 at 01:38 PM ET

monkey's avatar

In all this talk about Brad Stuart, two things:

HAHAHA at San Jose.  Bruins traded away Joe Thornton in a deal that at the time really pissed off a lot of Boston fans (“three dimes for a quarter”) and still wound up with the Cup before the Sharks. 

Every time Stuart’s contract is coming up, the applicable fan base goes haywire in dreaded anticipation.  As far as I can tell he’s been very popular everywhere he’s been.  We went through this exact same scenario (complete with family speculation) in 2008, Boston was doing it in 2007 (“Melissa came out to Boston.  We’re saved!”)...

Posted by monkey from Praha, Česká republika on 03/03/12 at 01:54 PM ET

HockeyFanOhio's avatar

Stuart has been a solid player his entire time with Detroit.  I guess one of the best things is that you never hear anyone complain about a missed play or lack of effort.  I hope that somehow Holland manages to find a way to convince him to stay.  But I agree, family is first.

Posted by HockeyFanOhio from Central Ohio on 03/03/12 at 02:23 PM ET

Avatar

He may not be limited to Ca. Vancouver and Phoenix (if still viable) are close enough to SJ. I’ve enjoyed watching him with Kronner these last few years and wish him well if he leaves.

Posted by La1wing from Los Angeles on 03/03/12 at 03:18 PM ET

cowboycoffee's avatar

My money is on the Sharks or LA. No way he comes back to Detroit. He’s stressed his family, enough.

Posted by cowboycoffee from San Francisco, CA on 03/03/12 at 04:24 PM ET

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I think the Quincey move was a smart one . At their draft position the Wings weren’t going to get anyone plus they have Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith coming up. I like Stuart okay but he’s not geting any younger and Detroit needed another decent puck moving defenseman. Like quarterbacks in football it takes some time for a defenseman to develop so Quincey is just entering his prime. Since it’s virtually 100% certain Stuart will go, this was a good move. I’d bet chances are less than 40% Lidstrom will come back again too. If that happens and a new CBA gets put in place the Wings could have cap space to perhaps sign a player like Suter. if that happens the defense will okay

Posted by Eric W from Lincoln Park MI on 03/03/12 at 05:05 PM ET

Avatar

NOOOOOOOO noooo noooo noooo! Brad Stuart dont leave to team!! California will always be here- your kids can spend a few years growing up in the Detroit suburbs- I did and I am a HUGE success- then you an go back to Cali later….we’ll save your spot. Don’t do it.

Just sign the extension please!!!!

Posted by LA Juice on 03/03/12 at 05:16 PM ET

SYF's avatar

What a tough situation for Stu.  Wings have been extraordinarily patient with the custody legal process and simply want stability in Stu’s family above all else.  When he’s happy with a healthy and settled family life, it does translate into a happier workplace.  I want that for him.

Given that, I hope it would be the Kings once again…even though the family’s in SJ.

Posted by SYF from Alana Blanchard's Bikinis and Surfboards on 03/03/12 at 06:58 PM ET

Avatar

Let’s talk about the upside of a Stuart departure:

The Wings “should” be able to sign TWO top UFAs on July 1 if the Wings don’t resign Hudler.  THREE if TPH retires (~shudder~). 

IMO, Parise and Wideman fit the bill. 

Although I’m ok if the Wings stand pat with the D (as long as TPH returns for one more ride).

I really see Smith as a top 4 D in the next 2 years.

Posted by BobaFe from Las Vegas on 03/03/12 at 08:31 PM ET

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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.