I don't know if they are a top-8 team in the conference, but look at the facts - if they had a little more luck injury wise, and could win a skills competition they'd be in a playoff spot. Historically bad at the skills competition is what is separating us. Even if they are average. But the games are close, we need great goaltending and we have it from one guy.
I don't see how Zid isn't a part of the solution for next year. I'd keep him for one more year. You can always trade him, and he's going to have value as long as he's putting points up. Ryane Clowe, Michael Ryder - these guys are valuable pieces. We can trade Ryder, I bet, but I don't know if I'd want to.
No clear Strategy, what does that mean? You go from year to year and try to put the best team on the ice. Does Chicago have a strategy? Yes...It's let's put the best team on the ice. They have a core that's ridiculous. We do not. We did, but sh!t hit the fan.
Development is questionable sure, but from that cluster of D we can't handle the development properly? I don't know, I see Merrill and Gelinas in the lineup. How many teams have 2 rookies playing every night?
Development is a tricky thing, but ultimately sometimes players pan out or they don't.