Every time I think about this team with Kovalchuk and Parise I really think we would be not only making the playoffs, but being close to Cup Contenders perennially. You're right, we're missing unfixable things because we're missing the kinds of players we don't have the opportunity to draft. We'd have to suck more for that, but it's tough to say that would even improve the team in the long run.
Exactly why I have not been happy of Lou's work lately, but at the same time dont and cant just give him the "full blame bomb". Parise not being signed because of Ilya's money was a huge blow, but to then lose Ilya too...how was it ever going to be possible to just replace these guys ?
Then again, that Ilya contract might be argued by some as being Lou's work and that his lack of vision lead to Parise leaving, but to be honest, I think Vanderbeek wanted a superstar and some pressure was applied on Lou to go and get the guy and even more to sign him at whatever's cost.