I think its one thing to idly talk about tanking, but I think if we ever had a season where we tanked I think everyone be talking quite differently. I think the reaction would be: he has destroyed this proud organization, tarnished Illitch's legacy, wasted years of D and Z's career, etc. If we even missed the playoffs there would a big cry for Holland to be fired.
Other effects of tanking: Babcock would probably leave for a team trying to win. Some players would probably ask for a trade. If you're complaining about UFAs not coming now, think about what it would be like if we finished last in the East.
So, I know a high prospect would be attractive, but would lose so much in the process and be much farther from winning than we are now. Would it really set us up to win for a while? maybe if we got McDavid, but we would have to shed half the team to be that bad.
We've lucked out and got at least one player that should have been a top pick in Mantha. I say luck, but Holland gets credit for discounting all of Mantha's detractors and recognizing a player open to bettering himself. Dekeyser choosing us was like a free 1st rounder. If you compare what we've added to the team in the way prospects to what Buffalo has by their recent tanking, and consider that we've kept our stars, does it really look like an attractive option?