...but i think the james neal trade shows us that we don't require a forward prospect in the system in order to get a top 6 scorer -- we just need good prospects any any position. in fact, i think the loading up on 1 position (defense) is pretty shrewd. the draft is always a bit of a gamble. by taking much of the same position, it really has provided us great depth in one area and (so it looks) ensures that some of the picks will be very good. we can either bring them up to solidify one part of the team (read: spend elsewhere) or they can be moved -- whatever is needed.
You make my point for me, because you are neglecting to acknowledge that the only folks who will be able to walk and are sure to be beyond our means are Staal and Letang. These guys will not be affordable in the Cap era, and don't forget that Goligoski was NOT an prospect. He had played quite a bit and actually quite well in my eyes (I know a lot of folks here didn't agree). He had demonstrated ability on the PP and had a strong even strength track record. I was not surprised to see him play so well down the stretch that year.
So IF you want to say we can move Despres or Morrow for a top young forward, you can if we play them asap. Tell me how we afford Staal AND Sid next summer though, and then how we keep Geno the next summer. Trading guys playing out their deal may bring something, but rentals are just that and I would expect a much greater return on a guy with a few years on his deal ala Letang.
Trading Letang doesn't guarantee we can afford Staal, but that is the point as well. We are trading from a position of strength with an asset that would have multiple organizations wanting in. We would be getting ahead of the curve upfront, and in the event of Staal not agreeing to an extension still, we would be able to move him as a rental for a lesser return also, or ride his deal out and watch him walk if we are in position for another run.
It's about creating "layers" of prospects, not just about getting a guy to fill Staal's spot.
Whatever. I just know that this team's cupboard is extremely bare up front, and assuming that guys like Neal being nabbed one at a time in trades is going to fix it is a pipedream. This team needs multiple talented youg forwards to advance this thing into Sid's next deal and hopefully Geno's. These guys need pedigrees and don't necessarily need to have any NHL resume yet. They need to be able to have a shot at the big club next year though.
The alternative is to watch the team lose these guys for nothing and remain an aging team upfront that has also lost most of it's size that is coupled with talent. If Staal does not re-sign, that process accelerates.
The alternative would be for the scouting staff to actually have hit a home run on Beau Bennett, but that appears to be a long shot. Even if they did, we could use three or four of him for the 2013-2014 season.