I'm going to try to rationalize some of Lowe's moves here, because someone has to.
1. The Smyth Trade
For one thing, Smyth was on the wrong side of 30, and paying him 5.5 mill/year would be paying for what he's done, not what he's going to do. Also, Nillson and O'Marra could become solid NHLers someday, probably in four years or so, maybe a bit longer. I've never read anything negative of Nillson except for inexperience, and I'd imagine by the time he's in his late twenties he could be a starter for the team. He'll never be Smytty, but he'll probably be good.
2. The Souray Signing
This deal looks a lot better now than it did when it happened, because when it happened we still had Simpsons screwing up the powerplay and any skill Souray had on it would be lost by our back assward Power play strategy. Now that he's been replaced by Daum, however, Souray might ALMOST be worth the money. Almost.
3. The Penner Offer Sheet
When it happened, I was wondering what in the world Lowe could possibly be thinking. He played his first full NHL season at the age of 24, and that was with excellent young talent in his line. However, 29 goals in a rookie season is pretty darn impressive in my books, even if you are far too old to be having a rookie season at all. If he can at least keep his numbers level this season, and then start to climb up he might be worth the money by the end of his contract. But for this much, he'll really need to be scoring around 40 goals a season and be helping Hemsky become a better player.