CHIP72, one thing you're leaving out is that the Scouts/Rockies not only kept changing hands (John McMullen became Owner #5 of this franchise...the Rockies were sold twice while still in Denver), but the economy in both Kansas City AND Denver was not good at the time the Scouts and Rockies were playing there. The unsettled ownerships led to the "gameplan" (or what passed for one) changing constantly. It's sad in ways, because the Rockies did have some good players, many of whom actually loved playing in Colorado and really wanted to improve the team's fortunes, but the front office made some absolutely awful moves. The worst was trading their 1983 first-round pick to the Islanders in 1981 for Dave Cameron and Bob Lorimer, neither of whom merited that kind of return. That first-rounder became Pat LaFontaine.
Anyway, with the ownership situation in constant flux until the franchise became the Devils, the team never really stood a chance. I've mentioned before how cheap the Rockies' different owners often were: uniforms with screen-printed logos and names/numbers, rented school buses occasionally used for transportation, a gutted trailer used for a locker and equipment room.
The focus actually changed right when the Devils arrived, in that they decided they were going to build through the draft and bring in warm bodies for the NHL team that would slowly be replaced as young kids were ready to step in. Everyone associated with the Devils at that time knew it was going to be ugly for a while (Hector Marini, one of those "warm bodies", basically said something along the lines of "They were looking at everyone's 24th and 25th players. You'd think a team full of guys like that wouldn't be very good. Well, we weren't.").
The one guy who really suffered through it all, through no fault of his own, was Chico Resch. He had been a good to very good goalie for the Isles, but had become expendable when Billy Smith, who he had split time with during the regular season for several seasons, became the man during the 1979-80 Stanley Cup run. He was pulled off the Islander team bus with rookie Steve Tambellini in 1981, just minutes before the trade deadline, and informed that he had been dealt to the Rockies (young Tambellini immediately burst into tears upon hearing the news). Chico played eight games with the Rockies as they finished out their season, but only needed a couple to learn what everyone else knew: the team stunk something fierce. He was then fed a load of crap about how the franchise was both committed to improving the on-ice product AND keeping the team in Colorado, which led him to sign a multi-year deal...less than a year later, the team was not only in a different state, but was clearly going to take slow and steady baby steps toward on-ice improvement...not exactly a welcome approach to a 34-year-old goaltender's eyes. After his first season in NJ, he thought about demanding a trade, but to his credit (and this is why I'll always have tremendous respect for him), he decided to stick it out and be a mentor to the kids that were slowly coming up through the system...playing behind some truly god-awful teams destroyed his career numbers (he might have come close to 300 career wins if he wasn't stuck on the Devils). That guy knew every season he was with the Devils, his team had NO chance to get to the playoffs, but he never bitched about it or complained, and tried to be as positive of an influence as possible. He played a very important role in the Rockies'/Devils' transition from yearly train wreck to team worthy of respect.