I think we are still a playoff team. Offensively we will be on par if not better then last year. Q can step in for Stuart (he played top minutes in LA and COL he can here). Smith showed last season he belonged and will have a good rookie year. Yes we lost Lidstrom and no one can replace him, but we have an all star goalie just starting his prime years, one of the best centers in the game in Pasha and a great forward in Z. A young player in Flipper who just hit his stride and has become the player we all have expected (he just needs to keep it up). A great young winger in Nyquist and an interesting prospect in Brunner. We have great depth in the forwards and im rock solid positive that Kenny has something going on for defense (waiting for CBA I believe is what he is aiming for to either trade or sign depth at D). Here is a breakdown of the pts we lost:
Replaced by Sami 14-17-31
Brunner (SEL) 24-36-60 (45 games averaged 1.5pts per game in 3 seasons I believe) top 6 play I think he could do .5ppg at the least. So thats 61 pts +Nyquist +Brunner to replace Hudler and Homer (24 pts so 74 total). Also we will have Eaves back a solid third liner which puts Emmerton off the team which makes us deeper.
Lidstrom and Stuart (34 and 21pts) replaced by Quincey and Smith (26 pts last year and Rookie). Ive said all along if Smith can provide at least 35 pts its a success year and we will be fine/ok.
Im not saying that points is all that mattered. But my mindset for this off season is that the wings are playing moneyball. If we were what 7th last year in offense and are replacing all these players with more points, technically we should be a success. Our defense was middle of the pack and should be the same. Our goaltending was great, and with Monster able to give Howard some quality starts he should get more rest hopefully making him rested and better.
Im not at all sold that we are not a playoff team. We lost 2 players and probably the greatest D of the modern game. The first 2 have been replaced, but losing Lidstrom can be compensated by the rest of the team stepping up. It wont be pretty, and we probably will be 4-8 but we will make the playoffs.