Honestly, I think some of our prospects are being grossly overvalued. Right now this defense corps consists of two legitimate Top 4 guys, with perhaps Quincey on the edge of that.
Here's the thing... Cup contention or not, right now this team's got nothing in the way of defenders to help with a transition from the vets to the prospects. When you look up front, you've got guys like Nyquist and Tatar who are going to hold things down before Mantha and Larkin (hopefully) transition into solid players. Kindl and Smith should be the guys helping with that transition on the back end, but they're just not good enough. DeKeyser by himself isn't enough.
I definitely think Detroit has something in guys like Ouellet and Sproul, but who's holding down the fort as they progress? You can only pile so much on Kronwall. If you can pull the trigger on Smith, Pulkkinen and a 1st for a legitimate offensive threat between the ages of 25-30, you do it. I wouldn't go as far as to say that those guys are replaceable, but they are most definitely expendable. As much as I enjoy Pulkkinen's possible upside, he's more of the same on this team. We've got the smaller skilled goal scorers in Tatar and Nyquist, with Mantha on his way soon. Without coming down on the guy too much, I do think that Ouellet is more than capable of doing the job Smith is doing now, and has better upside.
It isn't about adding a piece to put this team over the edge. It's about adding a piece to make real improvements to this team so that they can remain successful. I'd rather not find out the answer to, "Can Ouellet, Sproul, Marchenko, etc. progress fast enough to offset Kronwall slowing down?" Waiving Lashoff was a proactive move by Holland, and I hope he's willing to make another one with some of the assets in the system now.
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