If I'm Howard I'd be very! upset The playoffs aren't the time for testing rookies. Sadly I'm starting to wonder if Howard did rush back too early Howard is a huge reason why this team has made the playoffs he deserve done reward even if his play dropped off after coming back
I don't disagree with what you are saying about Howard being a "huge reason why this team has made the playoffs" but conversely with his play after the all star break he is also a huge part of the reason why this team almost missed the playoffs and it seems that goalies more than most players are hot or cold and Howie has been pretty cold for quite a while.
I love Alfie and supported the signing and want him back next year, but he's not a long term solution by any stretch and fits right in line with a lot of the older stars in their later years that come here. It's not bad having those guys now and again, but attracting them says nothing about our ability to attract talent that you can build a team around long term.
Dekeyser was a hometown move.
Weiss stands up to it on some level, but it's not a point I'd be screaming about, because thus far, it's been a bust for us. I hate to say it, because it's pure speculation, but given that he wasn't out of the woods with injuries and what we've gone on to see in the last year, what if other teams simply knew better than to gamble on him?
I think the point being made is true to some extent, though obviously it's not 100% conclusive and there will always be exceptions. Any way you look at it though, we are a much tougher sell to UFAs and players on the trade block with NTCs/NMCs than we were five years ago.
I think most of that misses the original point, Alife WANTED to come here, Dekeyser WANTED to come here, and Weiss chose to come here.
They were all highly sought after and all chose to come here, whether they worked out or not is irrelevant to countering the statement that UFA's don't want to go to the Wings. Some do and some don't and on a guy like Dekyser it isn't really fair to say he was a hometown move and so discount him but not discount all the other FA's choices that involve family, friends, location, climate, etc.
None of that is to say that I disagree with your final statement that the Wings are a tougher sell than they were 5 years ago, I agree they definitely are, but that is different that than the original assertion that UFA's don't want to go to Detroit anymore.