If we swap Q and Lashoff with XO and Marchenko, we'll see a difference. Both are steady Dmen that make a good 1st pass. Q's 1st pass is usually to the other team, and Lashoff was exposed badly this season when he had to play more minutes. I still think that Ouellet is our best D prospect overall.
I don't mean to diss what we've got on the farm. I just want that top-four guy, who we should've added the moment Lids said goodbye but has instead been put off because something something you can't replace Nick Lidstrom something something there's no hockey store something something a trade requires two teams something something we're not going to move top prospects something something Colaiacovo Quincey something something DeKeyser is lost forever with a broken finger something something Ericsson is lost forever with a broken finger something something...
Agreed. That's my point. Our team doesn't maximize offensive talent because we don't have the philosophy or system to do so. Load the team up with offensively talented players and they'll all factor into each other's production. It's no secret that Datsyuk's two best offensive years were when he had highly talented wingers to pass to. It's also no secret that Zetterberg's best offensive year was when he was the one "being passed to". If you're not willing to get those types of guys, or play those types of guys, then you're not going to optimize offensive potential, which is exactly the point I'm trying to make. Doesn't mean you can't win, just means you better win the New Jersey way.
Semantics, probably, but I'd say it's more personnel (and injuries) than philosophy/systems. We're built for a skilled possession system, but we've lost our two engines in Lidstrom and Rafalski, and only getting half seasons from Datsyuk and Zetterberg didn't help. Plus, Quincey. And Kindl. And Lashoff.
But it seems like we're mostly on the same page there. Basically, we need moar skillz.
Broken record, but Niskanen would be a huge gamble. He's had a really good season, while playing for a contract, on the Pittsburgh Penguins, with Jacques Martin working his evil strategic voodoo. For that, Niskanen is going to score a massive contract. Just so incredibly massive you won't even believe it. And it'll probably be a team that needs to reach the cap floor. And everyone will probably be laughing at that GM in a year's time. And we'll probably want to laugh, but then we'll remember we have Franzen. But then we'll rationalize Franzen as a tremendous value.