Alright, so I've been thinking about this, because much like the majority of fans on here I've been anxiously awaiting some exciting news. If you take a step back and look at what we've already got to work with, it's really not as bad as some are making it out to be. Perhaps after a few boring off-seasons we were all just itching for some big splash - something exciting, not necessarily because we needed it, but because we'd kinda earned it.
There's no denying the fact that we are weaker on D than we were last year. Suter or no Suter, this was inevitable - Lidstrom alone makes this so. Stuart, as much as some liked to bash him, was great and will be missed. This only adds another large hole in our defense. We could use one more depth defenseman especially given the departure of both Exelby and Janik. Now that they are gone, if there is an injury, which there almost always is, we really have nobody to call up. As sickening as it is to even say it - someone as crappy as Lebda would suffice as his only purpose would be 'bandage.' Luckily we still have a few viable options via free agency, not to mention the fact that we have WAY too many forwards and will likely trade a few for something. If that something isn't picks, it should be a depth defenceman.
I see a lot of complaining regarding Quincey and Smith. Yes, Q was not what we'd expected after the trade deadline, but keep in mind he was really good in Colorado and we were all a bit sour over losing him. He is better than he showed, and perhaps it was merely the adjustment from one team to another. I would expect an impressive effort from him this season and I feel that our first round pick was most certainly not wasted. Smith - what can be said about the kid? He is our best prospect, and our prospect pool is pretty damn decent. Rated as high as 4th was it? If teams like Philly can just throw their underripe prospects into the roster and see results, I would expect good things. I already liked what I saw last year and I, like many, didn't want to see him sent back down. Did these two fill the gaps left by both Lidstrom and Stuart? Of course not. Will they keep our team competitive? Bet your ass they will.
As far as forwards go... well, we may not have acquired any flashy free agents, but our team has improved. We lost Hudler - Jiri Hudler. With the exception of Eva and maybe two other people, he will not be missed very much. He wasn't as bad as we made him out to be, but there's the whole KHL thing, and oh yeah he's the smallest guy on the team. Sammy will not only replace the offence Hudler took with him, but will bring size and grit. Judging by about half of the rosters I see from various posters, it seems most of us have forgotten about the acquisition of Damien Brunner. He was the winger version of Schultz, and nobody really gave two craps when we learned of his interest in Detroit. He is a gamble, but then again so is Alex Semin. He could very well out score Hudler, and although unlikely, score more goals than Parise, who was signed for like 6 million more than Brunner. We don't know how well his game will translate into the NHL, but the potential is there, and that, to me, is as exciting a signing as any. We also have Jordin Tootoo. Tootoo may have inadvertently caused the death of miscellaneous computer hardware by signing here, but he will also cause death to those who f*** with our young guys, which is my next point.
We need to give our young prospects a shot in the NHL. There's a reason why most of you wouldn't want Nyquist included in a trade; He is the real deal. I don't understand how we can discourage trading them for proven players such as Nash or Ryan, yet be perfectly content with letting them rot in the AHL while we sign DOAN or whoever else. Doan is great, but he is old and he is not ours. For every Mueller, Prust or Doan we sign, a prospect loses his wings. For another season at least... Babcock guaranteed Brunner a spot. Tootoo is not sitting out at that salary, and neither will Samuelsson. We already have too many forwards, so as far as Doan and Semin go, we really don't need them. Nyquist is ready for the NHL and he will only become as great as he has been projected to be if we give him the chance.
Our team may not be stacked, but it will make the playoffs. We lost out on the Thunder Buddy sweepstakes, but we landed Brunner. This will be an exciting season and it could be full of pleasant surprises which will benefit our team in the long run. All we need is more depth on the back end and Holland will address this. The sky is not falling.
Agree with almost everything you wrote... Which is rare for me because I like to debate just for the sake of debate. All things considered, I'm excited about next year. Sure, I'd love to see Semin join the team and get back to his 40-goal form. But I'm also ready to see Brunner, Nyquist and Smith...