1: jury is still out, York is a solid top 4 D-man, but the key is Brink, who led the NCAA in scoring as a 20 year old junior. If he ends up close to Caufield this is a big win. Caufield is an offense only player who's primarily a goal scorer, whereas Brink is more physical for a small player and a very good playmaker.
2: This was more bad luck than anything, Ellis had played the second half and then 25 minutes a night in the playoffs before we traded for him - so it's unlikely he was damaged good. A healthy Ellis is a true 1st pair D-man.
3 & 4 are a package: Ghost was dumped at a market price, as can be seen by how little he got in trade as a UFA (2026 3rd rd pick) no one thought he was worth $4.5M for 2 years. However, to dump him then use that cap room to trade for Risto and a 1st and 2nd was a total waste of resources, even though Torts/Shaw have turned him into a passable 4th/5th D-man, not one close to being worth that price.
5: TDA was an overpay, but there was interest this TDL, and if his defense gets back to his NY level of mediocrity, he's a top offensive player who'll bring back a 2nd next TDL.
Fletcher's real problem was he patched and patched with no real vision.
Part of that is the front office, part of that is he's a "paint by numbers" guy with no real creativity.
So he slightly overpaid Hayes (pre-COVID contract, all look inflated post-COVID), gave up a 2nd and 3rd for Braun, etc.
Worked in 2019-20, things fell apart in 2020-21, so instead of a step back, he doubled down and everything cratered last year - but instead of admitting it was time to rebuild, I think he lacked the guts to confront Scott and the advisors, so he ends up trading G, avoiding the bad contract with JG (fine for a contender, a disaster for a rebuild) but extending instead of trading Risto and overpaying for TDA.