I think it mostly comes down to familiarity. Babs and Holland are familiar with the vets and what they bring to the team. Additionally, the vets are familiar with the Wings' system, their role, and how the game is played at the NHL level. Skill can get you to the NHL, but experience definitely goes a long way as well. We see it with Tatar now. Its clear he is teeming with skill, based on his AHL experience, as well as his play in the NHL. At the same time, now that he's up here, he's also turning the puck over much more, getting closed on much quicker, and he is being read more carefully at this stage. He's getting better at responding to that, actually at a pretty quick rate. His first game this year IMO was terrible. His second was much better. His third average, and his most recent game I think was his best. Generally he is trending up. Smith his going through the same transition, albeit more slowly (as per tradition with Red Wing defensmen).
Anyway, playoffs are expected around these parts, and I have to imagine its more comforting for the Wings' brass to shoot for the playoffs with a roster full of players who have repeatedly accomplished this feat, and slowly infuse the aging roster with youth at a very controlled rate. That's part of what made last year so exciting and nerve-wracking. The Wings had no choice but to turn to several GR callups and nobody knew what to expect, but by the hair of their teeth they made it into the playoffs, and I think Babs' stellar coaching really helped the team take off and get to game seven of the second round before bowing out.
This is a good post, and I think the bolded part plays a very big role in how Holland/Babcock manage the roster.
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