Ehrhoff, Niskanen are a big deal because they would have fixed an ever increasing hole since Lidas left.
Holland and some fans need to realize the time where players would come here for less are over. The Wings nowadays are just one of the teams asking for their service and if the money isn't comparable or hence better they won't sign. Overpayment and taking risks are part of a GMs job, UFA is also known as overpayment day but guess what ? I would have given Suter, Parise even 15 years if it means we are getting to see another cup for Mr. I, Pasha and Z after they've done so much for this former TOP destination in the NHL.
Whats the point of having capsapce if the top guys aren't hitting UFA anymore or you aren't going to use it t o your advantage ? Add to that it's not like the capspace has been used wisely this off-season either, overpayment for 2 players and third on the cusp of getting re-signed which doesn't leave a lot for a local hero (Danny D) is that smart cap management ? I don't think so.
Also Holland didn't take a risks and still lost a trades by a landslide (Poilé absolutely schooled him) so losing a big trade is much better than getting schooled by another gm, as did Yzerman two years ago..
As for McDavid the competition is fierce and tough you need to outtank: Buffalo, Florida, Winnipeg, Edmonton, New York, Calgary and maybe even Phoenix but keep in mind the second pick is also a great one Eichel will be a star in this league too.
I think you and I have a HUGE difference in opinion on the skill level of Erhoff and Niskanen.
Niskanen has played in the NHL for 7 seasons and his points totals are the following: 26, 35, 15, 10, 21, 14, 46.
His 46 points last season statistically seem more like an outlier then a true reflection of his ability. This should be a huge red flag to GM's and I am glad Holland didnt give in to the pressure and outbid Washington, I dont want a guy for 7 years for the kind of money that Washington threw at him. If an impact D-man was available in UFA (say a Shea Weber caliber D-man), I would be the first person to say sign him to a long term deal for top dollars, but Niskanen is not that guy. He would not be the difference in us winning a cup or not winning a cup. He may make us slightly better for maybe a few years, then his cap hit would hinder us a few years into his contract.
Ehroff is 32 and appears to be regressing. I believe (I could be wrong) he saw the year Niskanen had offensively playing with Crosby/Malkin and co. and signed a one year deal hoping to up his value so next year he can sign a huge contract. Also, not a guy I feel puts us over the top. I would have loved if we got him at 1 year, 4mil but from what I have heard he wanted much more term/$ to play for the Wings. Glad we didn't overpay.
Whats the point of having capspace? So when your core become UFA/RFA, you can sign them to long term deals rather then lose them. I would be totally fine with signing the guys above to 1 year deals to see what happens, but that wasn't an option. I don't want a stupid signing now to hurt us in 2016 or 2020 etc. when we need to re-sign guys like Nyquist, Tatar, Jurco, Mantha etc.
The Nashville trade.......it may end up being a horrible trade, I'm not going to argue either way, but you cant know that now. In 3 years we will know if that trade was bad or not.