You may not think he's capable of that role, but whether he is or not it was a pretty clear move by Holland to try and replace Stuart. It's not going to be an after the fact excuse when Stuart leaves. That was the intent from the beginning.
How is Quincey not a top four D-man? He wasn't great in his return to Detroit, but he's played top 4 minutes every team he's played on since he left.
The intent may have always been to use Quincey as Stuart's replacement, but I still don't see how that benefits the Red Wings going into next season judging by Quincey's play since he joined the team. Maybe he does need some more time to adjust to the system and get comfortable. I just didn't see anything different from Quincey than when he left the first time. Bad penalties, not very reliable in his own zone and wasn't really impactful from a special teams perspective either. I understand Quincey has played top-four minutes elsewhere, but I did also stipulate I didn't think he was that quality of a defenseman on a championship calibre team.
Let's say Nick does come back. The Red Wings then have Lidstrom, Kronwall, White, Ericsson, Quincey, Smith and Kindl all on defense. Ideally, Nick isn't playing top pairing minutes anymore if he does return. Kronwall can log big minutes pretty effectively. After that, there's potential, but also quite a bit of uncertainty of what you are going to get if you put those guys in larger roles. White looked worn down and overmatched in his own end as the season progressed. Ericsson is probably best suited to take over Stuart's role as the main penalty killer and rightfully so. Babcock is usually very good about spreading the minutes around on the back end, which is beneficial because the Red Wings don't have a shutdown pairing to throw out there for 30 minutes.
I probably didn't make my point very well previously, but I guess my conclusion is I think the Red Wings need another top-four player in free agency, with or without Nick Lidstrom. Obviously without, then it becomes a done deal they have to add a piece. Even with Nick, I think there are too many question marks defensively and the breakdowns in the Nashville series don't leave me optimistic about heading into next season with the same group of players intact.