A couple good reads:
I would be ok with trading Kindl or Quincey or Smith to a team that needs to reach the cap floor and giving the vacant spot to Ouellet or Marchenko. Both Ouellet and Marchenko are clearly NHL-ready. Hell, Babcock wanted Ouellet on the roster straight out of last year's training camp. These are not players who need to make major strides in Grand Rapids to prove they belong in the NHL. The only reason we're having this conversation is because there's a logjam (and the only reason there's a logjam is because Kenny rewarded Kindl and Ericsson with dumb contracts and now the two are pretty much untradable). Sure, Quincey and Ericsson are veteran NHLers and Ouellet and Marchenko aren't, and, in theory, a veteran is "better" than a kid. But we're getting dangerously close to Catch-22 territory.
"You need to be an NHLer for me to even consider rating you higher than a veteran NHLer, and until I rate you higher than a veteran NHLer, you can't be an NHLer. Grab dat cheez tho!"
I know, I know - better to have a veteran and a largely unproven kid than just an unproven kid. And that's fair enough. But, at the same time...if we're not planning on re-signing Quincey next summer, and we're not going to make a trade for a young stud defenseman, and we're going to continue to preach the need to get younger and quicker and how vitally important it is that the young players all take a step forward this season...maybe, just maybe, having Ouellet (probably the most promising of all our D prospects) on the third pairing instead of Quincey wouldn't be such a bad thing. Is it the safe play? No. Is it the smart play? Honestly, it probably isn't. But we have one of the weaker D groups in the league, and that's largely because we have a spectacular lack of young stud defensemen on the roster. If we're going to build ourselves a Cup-worthy D corps without the aid of a big trade, that means at least one of the Griffins prospects is going to have to become a stud NHL defenseman. Ideally, that happens while Datsyuk and Zetterberg are still elite, which gives us...two years? This may be a situation where "Eh, another year on the farm never hurt anybody" is not the right call.