Again, are you just ignoring the fact that Holland has gone out chasing every big name hard for years now? Did you forget that he had monster deals on the table for Parise and Suter as well? I don't get how people can just go with that "it was the smart thing to do" when he clearly, blatantly has tried to do something different every year now. He just hasn't landed the guys that he was chasing and then had to plug holes with FA scrubs and youth.
And don't get me wrong, youth is good and our drafting is great relative to the picks we get, but we are not a complete team. We struggle and fight and will ourselves to more success than we likely deserve if you're just going by what's on paper.
The bar is not just free agency and trades, but it's a huge part of the game still. You can't just draft all the players you need, especially when you don't get high picks like we do. You have to be able to augment the team via trade and free agency as well. Holland has not done a good job of that lately, plain and simple. Like I've said for a long time, he gets so caught up chasing the big names that he's missed other opportunities to improve the middle of this team, and he ends up with scraps in free agency.
And it's ludicrous to ignore how much money we've spent in the last few years on guys that don't play. Odd circumstances aside, we've been paying a lot of guys way too much money to practice or play in Grand Rapids. That is just plain stupid, and again, in many cases, the result of not being more pragmatic right when the deadline hits.
Guys like Parise and Suter are significantly better than anything that we had coming up. Those 2nd and 3rd tier free agents are marginally better than what we had coming up (or in some cases not better at all). All free agents aren't made alike. I don't mind Holland trying to land REALLY good ones. I also don't mind Holland being conservative and not overspending on the SORTA good ones.
It seems like people just want free agents for the sake of it. I don't. I'm happier with Nyquist or Tatar than I would be with Pominville or Vanek. Apparently, so is Holland.
I also agree that some of his acquisitions have blown up in his face. Weiss, Cole, Zidlicky, Tootoo, Sammy, etc. Which should indicate the inherent risk associated with free agency/trades. I'm glad that we've got someone who's cautious when it comes to these sorts of moves, because they don't work far more than they do.
It almost seems like people around here think that if Holland made MORE moves, that there would be LESS risk. Which is silly. Very few signings/trades are slam dunks, and when they are (Suter, Parise) you've got a lot of competition.