I do think the future is brighter than some. I think our D core is really good and really young.
The young forward core of Wilson, Bourque, and (to a lesser extent) Smith is a good start. Mix with Horny and (a healthy? motivated?) Erat, and it's not half bad. IF Poile can play his cards right and get returns for dead weight (SK, Hannan, etc...), then I'll really look forward to next year.
As I've stated, this season has never felt right. More like an exhibition to me. If there is any year to suck it up, IMO, this is the one to do it.
The biggest positive I see is the schedule. Lots of teams struggling on the road. Also I really like what I see in Bourque, Smith, Wilson, Josi, Blum and Ellis. I see these guys as the "core" for the next several years.
As mentioned, the young Fs - Wilson and Bork look certainly solid 2nd liners with more room for growth. Looking forward to the last 12 home games to see where Smith goes from here; just as soon see him playing wing on one of the top lines because I think in Trotz's system we want him to have creative freedom and Cs don't get that.
The D; has played about as I expected, and given Gill has been out and we've been forced to play Hannan top pair and 2nd pair mins, that's a real positive. Looking for someone outta' our "puck movers" to step up and start making the big/reliable outlet passes, but we've certainly improved on the little chip and move around the board game. Klein - turning out to be a bargain and a solid professional defenseman.
Richie Clune. How can you not like his enthusiasm and work ethic. Not sure he's around beyond this year - depending on how many of those kids we're willing to roll next year - or how many vets we might actually move at the deadline - but I would happily have him over Toots or Smitty or the true knuckle-draggers we've had as 12/13/14 Fs. He may not be a huge contributor ever, but you can't help but enjoy watching a guy like that work hard and give it all on the ice day-in day-out; you'd hope that would rub off on some.
and.... you never want your team to struggle, but if ever there was a year to do so.... it's a deep draft, and while I would argue any team in the west except COL would make the POs in the East it may not be so bad to have a pick in the 7-11 range rather than the high teens.
The kids are looking alright. Hopefully get a great draft position. Future looking good. Peks and Weber locked up long term. This mini season is kinda like a mulligan to me anyways and has been since game 1. Next year I'll have full emotions reinvested.