By this logic, all of these teams are damned to having a terrible season, here's what I think we should do.
1) Watch hockey.
2) Repeat step 1 until 15-20 games into the season.
3) Use logic and see how teams are REALLY going to play the rest of the season after they actually play some hockey, get their bearings together from not playing in the NHL for so long, some not playing any hockey at all in 9 months, no preseason, and minimal training camps.
I've mentioned this before, look at the standings as we are 3 games into the season. The Flyers, Rangers, Canucks will in no way finish in the bottom of their respective conferences as they sit now, because determining the layout and future of a team this soon into the season is ridiculous. I'm not sure why this isn't understood better. This isn't the NFL where we play a dozen and a half games and even in a shortened season, starting 1-2-0 doesn't spell catastrophic scenario in my mind.
We went through this same crap in 06/07 after we lost Shanahan/Yzerman. The team will be fine. No need to sell the team when we are a whopping three games into the season.
Also, you put way too much emphasis on the draft. It's really hard to build a team throught the draft alone unless you are consistently drafting in the top 5, which means you have to suck for a long time. Worked for Pittsburgh and Edmonton. Drafting players is always a gamble. Ask Thomas McCollum, or even Angelo Esposito...
What Holland "should have done" regarding potential dmen this offseason (and others) is real simple. Offer more money.
Wouldn't have worked with Suter anyway. He wanted to play with Parise and Holland couldn't afford both without significantly dismantling the team.
I love how everyon thinks Holland was supposed to have some grand scheme for when Lidstrom and Stuart left. He can't stock pile top 4 dmen in GR, so he had limited options:
1. Pursue the limited UFA's available, which he did. Didn't work, there are 29 other teams in the league they get to choose from. You can't win them all. If you can't get over it, put Suter on the Red Wings in a season on NHl13.
2. Try to shore up the bluline with a trade or two. He did. Unfortunately it was for Quincey, but John Edwards wasn't able to let Holland know that Quincey as going to blow it after the trade.
3. Fill the holes with cheaper UFA's and give some of the dmen on the team a chance to step up. He again, took this option. Colaiacovo and Huskins are both reliable NHL dmen that came for cheap. He's also giving guys like Smith, Kindl, Ericsson and now Lashoff to step up their play into a bigger role. The approach worked for the Red Wings offense in 06-07, who to say it can't for the D this year?
Holland is lost. He just blew 750k on freaking Huskins instead of playing with 5 or moving a forward back. Panic moves from a GM 3 games into the season. Gee, I wonder why we cant get Parise for 9 mil a year. Oh yah. Cuz Kenny thinks its better to stockpile a bunch of mediocre guys for 15 mil per year.
I don't see why it's such a bad move. The Wings were lacking in depth on d and added a NHL defenseman...
I know you want to see Almquist become the next Lidstrom but geez give him time. While you wait play some more seasons on NHL13.
Sure we don't have the 1st overall type players garbage franchises like Edmonton have (don't doubt that Edmonton's been absolute trash for a decade) but not many teams do.
If Ken Holland doesn't think he can make a trade or signing to keep the Wings in the thick of the hunt for the Cup he won't make the move. The time for short-term extensions of the team's quality ended when Lidstrom retired.
It's interesting that people haven't seemed to notice that Holland's accelerated the pace of his 'overripe' prospect pipeline. Tatar, Sheahan, Jurco and Mrazek all joined the AHL as early as possible (you're not allowed to put players in the AHL before their overage Jr season). Pulkkinen, Jarnkrok and Backman can all make the transition to the AHL next season and are expected to.
The lockout screwed us out of being able to properly evaluate prospects vs veterans this year so Holland appears to have played it as safe as possible. It remains to be seen whether he'll start transitioning kids into the line-up above and beyond the injury replacements but I suspect that depends on whether the Wings look like they can make a real push by the time that situation arises.
People can assume Ken Holland's retarded all they want but this is the first time he's gotten a real license to rebuild (with Lidstrom on the team you have to keep taking runs at the Cup) and it's only 3 games into a lockout shortened season.
I've been comparing this season to the beginning of the 06-07 campaign. Let's recap...
We lost Shanahan and his team leading 40 goals, and Yzerman retired. Holland made no moves whatsoever to replace them. Some even proposed tricking Manny Legace into resigning and then trading him for a 1st line forward. Then Holland signed this decrepid old goaltender named Hasek. The reaction on this forum going into that season was that the Red Wings were destined for failure. Forum members spent long hours on NHL06 making trades that they could post about. When the season started, members threatened to boycott if the second coming Filppula was not kept on opening roster. They were sent into a rage, when Babcock and Holland kept Kopecky on the roster and wasted the final spot on Brad Norton. Filppula was FORCED into humiliation by starting the year in GR, and then we lost the first game of the season to Vancouver and it was PANDEMONUEM. XBOX360's were buzzing madly as Red Wings fans tried to trade Kirk Maltby for players like Crosby and Ovechkin on the newly released NHL07.
Patience payed off though. An injury to much reviled Brad Norton allowed Filppula to be called up and his play allowed for him to never go back to that awful embarassing place called Grand Rapids. Johan Franzen and Dan Cleary stepped up on offense to help offset the loss of Shanahan, and a small forward named Hudler cemented his place in the lineup by providing secondary scoring from the 3rd/4th lines. The Red Wings even held off on making trades until the deadline, aqcuiring 2 forwards who made very little impact on the team. They made it all the way to the Western Conference Finals that season.
I see a lot of parallels between that seasons offense and this seasons defense. I think Holland has the same outlook for this season. Rather than make outrageous trades, or sign overpriced UFA's, he wants to see if some of the existing players on the blueline step up to fill the holes left by Lidstrom and Stuart.
Ah, yes, this familiar dance. This is where I suggest two or three people and you shoot them down one by one because "Yeah, but" and "Well, but" and so on and so forth.
I don't think Holland is stupid. Actually, I think he's bloody brilliant. That, my friends, is why I'm so WTF-ish over his recent decisions (or lack thereof) re: our D corps. I almost feel like, if someone had just punched him in the face and said, "KEN. REMEMBER WHAT IT IS WE DO. WE WIN," a light bulb would've gone on in his head and he would've worked out some insanely incredible deal for an all-star defenseman. But, as it is, he seems almost like an imposter these days. This whole build-from-within line - so transparently contrived it almost boggles my mind.
I guess it must be my age then. I was on this forum when Shanahan left for New York and Yzerman retired. Everyone on this forum lost it because we didn't replace them with some wild trade that would've worked on NHL07 or an overpriced UFA. And then we replaced Legace with this awful old guy named Hasek. We simply went with what we had at made it to the Western Conference finals that season and all was well. So I guess I'm resistant to that "sky is falling" mentality...
Yeah, I know, right? He was only the cornerstone of our team, second greatest defenseman in history. Bringing in one or two really solid guys to cushion the blow and help the transition woulda just been silly. It's much better that we went into this season the way we did, with Ericsson on our top-pairing, and the most injury prone player in NHL history in the #6/7 slot. (Ericsson, by the way, is a third-pairing defenseman. People are only saying stuff like "It's time for him to make the jump" and "There is no reason he can't be a #2 on our blue line" out of, essentially, sheer necessity. And his contract.)
Nobody said anything about that. You can't replace Lidstrom, and you certainly can't stock pile people in the AHL. But the off season after Rafalski retired you could have signed Wisniewski for the price of his current contract and still saved money (as Rafalski made more). Or, you could have signed Allen AND Carle this offseason for the same amount as you were willing (and did) offer Suter. No need to stockpile anyone. They would have walked straight on to our team, and straight into our top four, no AHL stockpiling necessary.
Saying that we could've signed any certain UFA is moot. What if Wisniewski didn't want to play in Detroit? Why would Holland want to play Carle or Allen anywhere near what he offered Suter. Suter blows both of them out of the water. And again, maybe they also didn't want to come to Detroit. They both got huge paydays with struggling teams. Especially considering that Carle is a turnover prone one dimensional offensive dman and Allen is AT BEST a 2nd/3rd pairing stay at home dman.
I've always liked Hollands approach with young players. Sure we could have Nyquist start on the big club and probably get buried on the 3rd line. Instead, Nyquist, Tatar and Andersson are the top line in GR and get to hone their skills while playing in all situations. I don't see how that hurts their development or the team. I still don't get why everyone is so hung up on Nyquist though. The kid looked good, but he didn't exactly tear it up. He had 1 goal in 22 total games. I doubt he'd be an upgrade over Samuelsson right now...