Why the hell wouldn't you want to make the playoffs? This isn't pre-lockout days where unless you had the hottest goalie in the history of the game did you even have a hope of causing an upset.
LA were the number 6 seed in the west this year. 2 years before that they were the number 8 seed. The Devils were the 6 seed that year vs the kings. In 09-10 the Flyers were the number 7 seed in the East and they made the Finals.
The point I'm making is, if you're roster is good enough to make the playoffs right now, why blow it up, because as we've seen, anything can happen. If you looked at the Rangers roster before the season began, and even after they traded for St Louis, would you still have picked them to beat Pittsburgh?
This team is good enough to make the playoffs. And if anyone thinks that making the playoffs even if only to play 5 games is less valuable for the young kids experience than missing them completely, then you want your head testing.
Last season, there were a few mistakes early that were costing us, and then the injury bug hit like Ive never seen. You cannot lose key players for extended periods like that an expect to keep competing, yet somehow we did. All of that experience is frankly, invaluable, such that when Pavel and hank come back healthy they'll be able to lead the way, and our kids last year will be able to provide depth and secondary scoring that every team needs to win.
There will be ups and downs, but this team is trending up. The fact that we didn't sign a big name free agent on 1 day of the year doesn't mean otherwise.