I don't think we need to panic just yet. Think about what it feels like right now to be a Preds or Devils fan. They lost two franchise players. The Wings made their pitch, and Parise and Suter decided to go elsewhere.
I agree that the Wings have a huge hole to fill on the blue line. Let's give them some time and come training camp, let's see who is out there. I'm glad they didn't try to lure Carle with the money he got from Tampa.
Ideally, I'd like to see them go after Semin and Doan (to reasonable contracts), and see if they can trade for a top 4 defenseman.
While I agree it's definitely not time to fully panic there is some serious concern. You mentioned it could be worse, we could be the preds or the devils who actually lost an elite level player off their roster. While this is true, I believe we can all agree that the wings lost possibly the best defenseman of ALL-TIME this off season. Sure it was to retirement as opposed to free agency but lost nonetheless. While I feel for the preds and devils today I honestly dont care as we are fans of the wings and not them. The truth is that the state of this team is not horrific like a Toronto, Montreal or Columbus but it is in some serious jeopardy.
Pav and Hank are clearly great but for how much longer? Howard is good but how good and how much is he going to want next year? Filpulla is solid but if he has another decent year i can only imagine what his next contract will look like considering todays market, in my opinion hes good but not the future. Kronwall is our best dman but he's probably hit about as good as he is going to get. Now, outside of the five I just mentioned the rest are just solid role players either in their prime like helm or past their prime like the bertuzzi's and cleary's of the world.
As far as prospects, smith will probably be a top 4 d and if all goes well a top 2 d. After that there are no sure fire top 6 f/top 4 d in the system. Sure there are the Nyquist,Tatar, sheahan, jarnkrok in the system but from what we've seen or been told mid level NHL players is probably their ceiling at best and that's probably best case scenario. There is no star in waiting in the system with smith hopefully being the exception and I know all you out there will give me the whole finding a gem in the 6/7th rounds like Pav and hank. The problem is that is few and far between and there is no way to ever bank on that happening often if at all for a while.
I guess what I'm saying is if the wings truly want to be contendors without a monster rebuild like the oilers of the world it might be time to open the doors to ALL trade possibilities. As much as I love to watch our stars play I truly believe trading Hank to a team like the Rangers or Flyers could bring back assets that could assure being competitive for a long time.
While I'm no gm and just a passionate fan I believe something big has got give for this team to remain an actual true top 10 contender. I hope kh has something up his sleeve but I just don't see it so I'm hoping for the best but expecting the worst.