Very true! In hindsight, it looks like Holland might've won that trade...
Even at the time I thought it was a great trade (and said as much in the comments back then).
Looking at just the picks, trading the #16 for the #20 and the #53 is a great deal. Already by the middle of the first round there is a lot of uncertainty and not much difference in expected value between picks. And then ON TOP of that, they dumped a huge amount of salary. I would make that deal without blinking every time.
People were salty about it in hindsight because:
1) Chychrun made the NHL right out of the gate, making Holland look bad for passing on him. But anyone who thinks that outcome was guaranteed or even particularly likely at the time of the trade is fooling themselves -- and even if Detroit had drafted Chychrun, they likely would have sent him back to junior anyway.
2) Holland went a bit off board to select Cholowski, and even then his development was slower than expected the following year. So the contrast between the two picks was especially glaring.
3) Holland, predictably, blew all the cap money he saved on bad contracts, taking the team straight back into cap hell without meaningfully improving it instead of kickstarting the rebuild.
Still, Holland's foolishness AFTER the trade should not alter our evaluation of the trade itself, which I have always thought was very good. Now that Cholowski looks like an NHLer, Hronek might not be far off either, and Chychrun can't stay healthy, the general public might start to agree with me.