I've referenced this piece by Kevin Weekes before and I'm gonna do it again, because he nails it (and echoes what we're all saying, right on down to the Kings being a model):
I think the biggest challenge for the Red Wings is that they don't have a Drew Doughty or a P.K. Subban or Oliver Ekman-Larson on their blue line. I think Niklas Kronwall is a heck of a player and Jonathan Ericsson is a nice player. Danny DeKeyser has also been really impressive but he's hurt again. They just don't have one of those game-changers. Without having that, it's pretty difficult to make plays and help get the puck out of your zone and get the puck out of trouble. Detroit doesn't have one of those guys right now.
Of course, they had one of the game's all-time greats in Nicklas Lidstrom. They haven't filled that hole since he retired in 2012. Obviously, Nicklas Lidstroms don't come along every day. But at the same time, look at the L.A. Kings. They had Drew Doughty and Jack Johnson and they were able to trade Johnson because they had Slava Voynov. That's a lot of good D.
When you look at a lot of the top teams, including the Boston Bruins, quite often they have one, if not two or three, of those guys on the back end. Detroit has some room to improve in that area.
And before someone says "YEAH BUT NAME ONE REALLY GOOD DEFENSEMAN WHO'S BEEN TRADED (HA! THEREFORE WE CAN'T TRADE FOR ONE BECAUSE IT'S IMPOSSIBLE. THESE STICKS KEEP THOSE LIONS AWAY REAL GOOD)"...
ST. PAUL – The moment Mike Babcock learned the San Jose Sharks had acquired defenseman Brent Burns, he instantly got the look of a guy who’s [sic] team just let one get away.
His Red Wings are looking for a defenseman to replace the retired Brian Rafalski, but it was the playoff rival Sharks who pried the talented Burns away from the Minnesota Wild in a blockbuster trade.
“They just hit a home run,” Babcock said of the Sharks. “That’s a gold medal pick. I’m pissed off.”
Can you believe that? We still had Nick Lidstrom at that point, yet Babcock was, by his own candid admission, pissed off that we didn't add this top-four defenseman! I ask if you can believe that because, well, here we are, it's several years later, we have no Rafalski, no Lidstrom, and still no "Brent Burns" (solid top-four defenseman). And, oh yeah, our core players are that much older*.
*(Datsyuk is 35, slowing down, and making incredibly uncharacteristic mistakes on the ice. Z is 33 and has been battling back problems which recently pushed him to the ultimate measure of last resort for a pro athlete: back surgery. Kronwall is 33 and is being leaned on way too heavily. [Which is the whole point here, really.] Franzen is 34 and probably one concussion away from early retirement. Hell, our kids are barely even "kids." We talk about Smith like he's 20 when he's actually 25. Young, but not a kid.)
Kenny needs to be aggressive. He needs to be ruthless. He can't be completely averse to risk. To which he'd say:
"Well, we need to draft well and build from within. We can't go chasing big names. We can't go out and get a guy every time we have a hole to fill. That's not the way you win these days. If you look at the top teams in the league right now, they got to where they are today by drafting well and developing well. Now they're reaping the benefits. Blah blah blah."
And yet, he was in on Suter and Parise. And he was in on Edler. And he was in on Bouwmeester. And he kicked the tires on Weber. And he kicked the tires on Salo. And he actually brought in two guys in Colaiacovo and Quincey (and a third in DeKeyser, if you want to count him that way). And he also brought in Alfredsson and Weiss. And he traded one of our best prospects and a second-round pick for a few weeks of Legwand.
I have a love/hate relationship with our GM.