I think we have to separate lhd and rhd. After 2012 Lou had Greene, Volch and tallinder as lhd. Tallinder just came off a year on the ir- granted it was fluky but between him and Volch there were definetly some questions. Basically Greene was the only reliable lhd, I guess you could say that perhaps urbom could have been ready but he would still be a question at best. And this was a team coming off a good year, so we were contenders for the forseeable future.
But he had Tallinder then, who still had two years left on his deal and wasn't at that point in the doghouse. Greene with (then) three years left on his deal, Fayne on a team-friendly two-year deal, Larsson on his ELC, Volch was still signed for forever. Only Zidlicky (who we needed) and Harrold, the #7 were on one-year deals. Bringing back Sal gave us a logjam even WITHOUT accounting for Gelinas/Merrill down the road. It was a problem last year when Tallinder/Fayne/Larsson were being scratched on a regular basis and that was before Gelinas/Merrill were around. We already had six defensemen on NHL contracts plus Larsson before bringing back Sal.
Yes we got rid of Tallinder in the offseason, but nobody else and now that Gelinas/Merrill are ready we're having to scratch Volch/Harrold for the tonight, or send Gelinas back to the minors and keep Larsson in the minors after he'd pretty much earned a spot earlier in the season with his play beside Gelinas. All of our issues with the logjam the last 'two' years stemmed from bringing Sal back and not doing anything else to clear a spot.
Ideally sal would have only gotten 2 years but I guess the third year was what it took to re-sign him, so I can't fault Lou for the contract. I can fault him for not finding a way to move anyone since then.