This line of reasoning always confuses me.
From what I have watched (every game since 2006), Kindl is far more sound than Erickson. I have seen the typical rookie mistakes, but it says a lot when I feel way more confident when Kindl is back there. He's not overly physical, but he gets back as a serviceable skater, protects the puck, and makes quick sharp passes out of the zone. When was the last time anyone saw Big Rig have a quick sharp pass on the tape? On the other note- I dont know how Smith will take the job of Kindl if they are going to be in 2 different leagues this year. Smith can still be sent down, and will be in order to get top-pairing in the AHL and 20+ minutes a night. Kindl will most likely rotate in and out with whoever is sucking more- Big Rig or Commodore.
To the larger topic at hand- I am still drinking the KennyKoolAid. If your largest mistakes as GM are named Cory Cross, Quincy, Hatcher, and the current Big Rig contract, then you are still by FAR the best GM in Hockey. I hope to see Erickson improve- I really do. However, I gave up on him last season. There were too many times that he just stagnated, and I just do not see the faith being fulfilled. If only someone would find out what he was eating during the Anaheim series, and feed him that from now on it may end up being alright. But as I said before- I do not believe at this point that I will be seeing that defenseman any time soon.
Kindl is "far more sound" than Ericsson, yet Babcock inexplicably only plays him 13 minutes a game in 48 games. Whereas Ericsson plays the full season at almost 19 minutes per game. And Kindl didn't see a second of playoff time. If he's far more sound, why would the Red Wings utilize him that way? They had Salei battling with Kindl for the final spot, so it's not like they're going to give it to Ericsson just on experience or reputation. And as you mentioned, Holland gives Ericsson a big raise, in spite of having a more sound player in the minors ready to fill his role?
Those are some pretty terrible decisions by Babcock and Holland if what you're saying was true.
The reality is Kindl is not more sound than Ericsson. That's not to say he won't develop and become that. But so far, he just isn't. More than anything, Kindl needs to prove himself and secure a permanent spot in the lineup. Then we'll see how he develops.