I agree that they're probably have to go young and start with the rebuild now (though I'm not sure that was the plan as recently as a couple weeks ago). But I hope they don't "stockpile" the young talent. Or maybe I'm misunderstanding what you're saying. Seems like if they're going to do this they really need to see what they've got, and they can't do that unless they play these guys and give them good looks. You're not really doing yourself any favors by loading up on all these young guys only to keep them in GR while guys like Abby, Sammy, Cleary, Colaiacovo, and White are in the lineup. If you're going to rebuild, it seem like you're still going to have to make the unpleasant choice of cutting guys loose. And that's something this organization is generally reluctant to do.
Yes, eventually the young guys have to play, and I believe they will. But most of our prospects haven't yet played pro hockey in NA. Many will be in GR next season. Cleary and White will likely be gone this summer, Sammy, Bert, and Cola likely after next year. The openings will come. Maybe not as quickly or as many as some would like, but they'll be there. Some of the kids will likely wash out in the AHL. Once we have a better idea of what we have, some may be traded away to better balance our strengths. The windows may be small and the kids may have to really excell in limited time to squeeze in.
The past and the future are very different situations, so I would expect different behavior from management. Even though some of the decisions this past summer may look similar, to me they look more like stop-gap measures to try to keep us in the playoffs while we wait for the kids to develop some more. And who can say what might have been different if we'd had a real training camp.
Likely no different for Andersson and Lashoff. But the spots they'd fill are already filled with young players anyway. Helm, Abby, and Emmy are all young bottom-6 centers. Mursak was a kid getting his chance. Andy's chance likely would have come next year, luckily for him injuries gave it to him sooner. Same for Lashoff, though with all the questions on defense and so many young guys anyway, injuries may have been his only opportunity. Again, lucky for him, and maybe the team as well since now we have a decent 6/7 guy we didn't know we had. I guess that's the silver-lining on the injury cloud.
I think Tatar and Nyquist would have had a chance in training camp, though the addition of Brunner didn't help their cause. Bert and Sammy are certainly in the way, but both offer elements that the kids lack. Not a great chance, and maybe not the way I'd have done it, but I can't fault management for trying to remain competetive through a rebuild. Personally, I think they're both trade candidates. I think they're close enough to the NHL that we can safely conclude that neither of them is particularly special, and they're too similar to what we already have. We can try to trade them to address other weaknesses. That we haven't traded them yet is maybe a good thing. Our needs on defense don't seem quite as desperate as they did in the summer, while they have both been valuable injury replacements.
Over the next few years, I expect more kids to start trickling in and out while we try to separate the wheat from the chaff. Maybe some more stop-gaps depending on how well guys do; who stays and who goes. Likely to be frustrating, and we'll almost certainly let someone go that will turn out better than we thought. But so long as at least a handful work out well for us, we'll be in good shape once we find our next generation stars. No one's going to like the process, and the boards will be full of ideas for what could be or should have been done, some realistic some not so much. I can understand the impatience, and the thought that we should have started the rebuild sooner. But building takes time, as does decline. We need to be more patient.