I think we're both just kinda misunderstanding each other, SOAW. Which is probably my fault.
First of all, AAA D2F Club! Hurray! *high-five*
Smith - We absolutely do have to be more patient with him. But I'm not patient in these matters. Thus, I hate him and want him to be a forward or shown the door, even though he'll almost certainly be a top defenseman in this league in a few years. I don't think it'd really hurt to give him a look up front, though. I mean, we wouldn't be expecting him to turn into Milan Lucic, just add some speed and punch to our attack. I like the idea, but I've no pride in the matter. I just think, when you watch him, he looks like a forward who's recently been converted to D. He's trying to figure things out. If he wasn't trying to figure things out and was a steady, essential component of our D corps, I wouldn't even consider moving him up front. Maybe he just needs to get some "offense" out of his system? If the plan fails, then just move him back to the blue line. No harm done.
Alfie - As with Smith, I think it's worth shot, that's all. If it works, it could be really great for us. If it doesn't work, he goes back to being a forward. I guess it's sort of the opposite of Smith yet also kind of the same: switch him, because, why not? Smith is young and jumpy and has a lot to learn and he's got a few seasons before things really click for him...Alfie is old and wise and about as steady and reliable and experienced as it gets, and he has almost nothing new left to learn or try. So, in both cases, why not give it a shot? It'd be totally "in-house," no assets lost.
Ideally, of course, we land a Rafalski type. That is, an elite puck-moving offensive-defenseman who can solidify our defense and boost our offense. Del Zotto's far, far, far from that. I just like his offensive instincts.
The problem is we're not getting a top-four defenseman this season. The demand is through the roof, the asking price is ludicrous - it's not happening. So, fine, we just play the kids and give them valuable experience. Which is great, except Alfie came to this team for a Cup this season. And we're really burning away the time we have left with Datsyuk and Zetterberg as ultra-elite players.