I have to think that he has had things going on. He knew when he re-signed Cleary that this was going to happen.
I guess my big problem here is that he signed Cleary in the first place. More specifically, he signed Cleary after all of his talk about the importance - no! The need to get younger, build and promote from within, etc. And here we are with Cleary, Samuelsson, Bertuzzi (who I actually do like, and who has, thankfully, been pretty good so far).
I'm love-hate with Holland. He seems to talk out of his butt a lot because he knows most people will eat up anything he says. (Does no one realize that he's shown just a tiny bit more than zero faith in our youth, all while saying youth is everything?) And yet, he does have a way of making things at least mostly right, and sometimes pulling rabbits from his magical hat. Probably the best GM in the league, but he does seem to be slipping a little these days.
Maybe I'm being too hard on him. (It's likely I am.) I get extra-grumpy, and slightly confused, in times like these, when our team looks an awful lot like the Winnipeg Jets. *shudder*
Fair enough. But I don't think you can fully rate our drafting without looking at our current pool.
Like I said and conceded, we are in a bit of a dry spell in terms of guys who are ready to step in now (though Nyquist and Tatar are both very good pieces). But I do believe that will change in the coming years. At the very least, I don't think it's really fair to say we haven't been drafting well at forward. Given where we always draft (i.e. nowhere near the very top), I think we've done about as well as we conceivably could have done.
Ultimate point being: I don't feel our drafting is very much at fault re: our scoring woes. You're not going to get a Datsyuk or Zetterberg or even a Franzen every year if you're always making the playoffs. Now, a guy like Hossa - that could open up a discussion about our decisions re: free agents, trades. I do feel some of our signings (e.g. Cleary, Samuelsson) could definitely be linked to our scoring problems, if not directly (e.g. Sammy sucks), then indirectly (e.g. having Sammy means not having [insert better player]).
We've drafted really well at forward, IMHO. Names:
That's an extraordinarily good group, considering we haven't picked in the top twenty since, what, Marty Lapointe? And our D group is nothing to sneeze at.
All of which is to say: I believe drafting is one thing we've been getting very right.
True, there's been a bit of a dry spell lately, but in the coming years that will change. My only worry is, of course, the clock that's ticking on Z and D's careers. I want as many of our young guys to learn as much as they can from those two.
We're currently averaging 2.3 goals per game. That's good for 23rd in the league. And that's not good.
But this is nothing new. So what's the deal? Is it all on our defense not being what it once was? (No Lidstrom and Rafalski means uglier movement and first passes, etc.) Is it our forecheck, or lack thereof? (We seem to be playing that one-and-done perimeter game again.) Do we just simply need a pure goal-scorer, e.g. Vanek? Or maybe a power-forward? A puck-moving defenseman with a great first pass? Is Babs just messing with the lines too much?
It's probably a number of things, not just one single issue. What do you think? And, since we're all Ken Holland, how do you fix the problem(s)?