Mario fricking Lemieux in his prime would have a hard time with Abdelkader and Cleary playing his wings. To suggest Dats and Z can't score is absurd. These guys are crippled with crappy players because the GM failed the last off season. Franzen and Brunner are average, and their paychecks prove it. Cleary and Abdelkader are 3rd liners at best, and their paychecks prove it. Asking Z and D to score with these guys is a joke. Our top 6 needs a serious overhaul. 2 guys minimum. 4 guys in reality.
I said they can't score goals. By that I mean they both seem to be around 20-25g. And you're kind of proving my point. They're not good enough to turn average players into stars. Nothing really wrong with that; few players ever have been. I point it out because it makes it that much tougher to build a team. If we need four 30g wingers, we're probably out of luck. Couldn't afford it in free agency, even if there were 4 available. Nor do we have the trade assets, even if we completely empty the cupboards (which would leave no cheap depth to fill the rest of the roster anyway).
We need to be able to score, even if our top-6 has a couple of guys that can only pot 15-20. Cleary and Abby have 9g apiece. Franzen has 10, Brunner 11, Flip 7...Tatar, Nyquist, and Bert combined have 9 in what has essentially been the same roster spot. That's pretty good scoring depth. That's 7 players with 9 or more, plus 1 with 7.
For comparison, the Blackhawks also have 7 players with 9 and one with 7. In fact, looking at the entire forward corps of both teams, taking out Datsyuk, Zetterberg, and Franzen for the Wings, and Kane, Toews, and Hossa for the Hawks... our forwards have scored just one fewer goal. Paid similar money too; we're a little under a million more. Injuries close to balanced. Bolland and Flip roughly equal out. We've had more injuries, but they've had Sharp out for a while. Our replacements have done better. It's a very minor difference. Add in Franzen and Hossa (both have missed 7 games) and the difference is 8 goals, and now the Hawks spending slightly more.
Pav and Hank have 22. Kane and Toews have 42.
It's reasonable to think we could upgrade one of the others enough to offset the 8g difference there. Not so much the other 20g at the top. We need that depth scoring. Need guys like Cleary, Abby, Bert and Sammy who can fill a role on a top line at a fairly cheap price. We can afford one upgrade, and maybe make one other swap for someone of a similar level but who fits better. No guarantees that we can find either, and no guarantees it would be enough, so we don't want to spend to much (in cap commitment or trade) to try for it.