And nights like last night and especially tonight make me feel better about standing pat in saying that I think the Wings are still going to make the playoffs, despite everything that's gone on this season, especially the last couple months. I still think the team has been poorly managed; I think Holland's done a terrible job in the offseason by signing guys we don't need and not strengthening the D which is where we really need guys. I'm still really worried about the future if he doesn't change his ways. But so long as Dats and Z are around and playing pretty well (hopefully the next 2-3 years past this one), I think we're still a consistent playoff team and a potential contender, albeit a dark horse one.
Hopefully watching some of these kids play the last couple seasons and seeing how much money he's throwing away on guys that aren't even playing, he'll change the way he does things. Let these kids play and while their contracts are cheap, find better high-mid talent to supplement them, especially on D. Stop blowing money on Samuellsons and Clearys and Tootoos. Three guys that aren't playing or contributing and we might as well overpay for someone who will! Holland's strengths in the market are finding cheap guys that bring a tremendous amount of value; guys like Miller and Eaves. With the cap going up and the lack of mid-level let alone high-level talent on D, he's got to strengthen that area this summer, via free agency or trade, and continue to work at it through the season. The following two summers and seasons, you've got to find at least one top-end forward to bring in to help transition this team when Dats and Z stop having a major impact and/or retire. With the cap going up, the majority of his signings mid-level signings blowing up in his face, the kids playing well, and the concerns about Z's back plus Dats career winding down, he's got to change his strategy moving forward.
While the kids are definitely more NHL-ready than the Wings typically seem to think, we realistically can't expect all of them to continue to play at a higher level moving forward, hence the need to consolidate some spending on impact players as opposed to again mid-level guys that almost always make too much and cost too much, if they even play. Having more impact guys around will make the young guys better and smooth out the learning curves as well. After all, we've seen too many examples of young guys come up from Grand Rapids, play great when they're filling holes and running on the excitement of playing in the NHL, and then when they go on to make the team out of camp, they struggle once they're a regular-regular. I'm optimistic about a lot of our guys and I think Tatar and Nyquist are legit talent that'll only get better, but everyone else is a wildcard next season. Some will be better, some will be worse, but all would benefit from upper-mid to high-end player to carry some of the load and lead as opposed to three guys making way more than they are to do nothing.
I believe in the core of this team now, and I want to see the core maintained moving forward. Keep a strong core, keep the kids flowing in maybe a bit sooner than you used to, supplement the core with better players, and fill out the roster with those $1-1.5 million gems that can play important roles better than most $2.5-3 million mid-level guys seem able to. I don't think it's a difficult concept, and it's only going to be easier with the cap going up. I love this team, I love having a chance to make a run at the Cup, and I love winning as much as possible. There's just no reason it can't continue if we just get better at putting money in the right places.
If the Griffins pull this off and make the playoffs for the 23rd straight season that 3 minutes 15 seconds in the second period were it went from 2-3 to 5-3 will be the catalyst.
They're going to pull it off.