The lamentation of the general…manager.
In any sports organization, there are people whose job it is to overlook the daily grind of all levels of operation. And there are people whose job it is to create a long term vision for the organization so that prospects will develop in time to replace roster players. There are people who watch other teams and organizations in order to help give input on potential acquisitions of players from other teams. There are people who look at junior and foreign leagues to try to find a diamond in the rough.
For the Islanders, those people are named Garth Snow.
Garth Snow has a terrible, terrible job. Worse than the movie “Gigli,” if that’s possible. His job is to do everything, everywhere, for everyone. Lots of teams have deep front offices. Garth IS our front office. Sure, he has an assistant…who is also an assistant coach, so Garth doesn’t get a lot of relief there. he also has a scouting staff. Part time. And he has a few professional scouts. And by few, it’s a lot less than just about every other organization in sports. And through these confines, he has to carry out his vision. That’s a story for another day, mind you. But lets look at the problems created by Snow’s workload, and maybe some solutions.
The biggest problem Snow has is time. He’s one guy. He can’t be giving goaltending clinics, palling around the locker room making goalie talk, sitting in the owners box, watching the Sound Tigers play, meeting with season ticket holders telling fantastical lies, and be making the appropriate phone jockeying with colleagues to improve his team. Now, I know he does this, but he shouldn’t. Why not? Look at the records the Islanders have produced in his tenure as GM. Their average drafting position, not accounting for trading down or losing a draft lottery, is about 3rd overall pick during his tenure. For folks who like math, that was a 5th, a 1st, a 3rd bumped via lottery, a 5th, and a 4th. 18/5= 3.6.
In addition to spinning wheels in a draft, Snow’s overreaching employment prevents him from an NHL staple- making a trade. If Snow is running a draft, resigning existing players, reaching out to an occasional free agent , and driving to Bridgeport to watch a highly anticlimactic playoff series, he’s not talking to other general managers regarding acquiring players. Players that may lower his average standings in these draft lotteries. Players that may have drawn crowds at the Coliseum, putting pressure on the county to build a new barn. And players who, since they were traded here, can not use the building as an excuse not to play on Long Island. Aside of the Ryan Smyth trade, Snow’s trades have been unimposing. Hunter for Rolston? Roloson for Wishart? Mottau for a minor leaguer? A second round pick for a refugee? There’s not enough time in Snow’s workday to actually sit down, evaluate talent, and make a trade that brings in an actual NHL ready body that benefits his club.
So what’s the solution? The answer is simple- Garth Snow. Snow is on record frequently as saying that he has no financial restrictions. Fine- show me. A free agent won’t play in your building? How about a president of hockey operations that you recruit from a winning organization? Or an expanded scouting staff. Or an expanded, experienced coaching staff. You know, things other NHL teams have. Now, I get that bringing in talented people to fill your front office can be perceived as a threat to someone who, you know, finishes in last place every year. But a good boss hires workers who are smarter than he is. And that makes him look like a good boss, because its a recognition of talent. So here it is Garth- spend some money. Be a stimulus package for the NHL. Bring in a staff that can make your life easier. You’ll be less stressed, and you can maybe even take a vacation to somewhere warm. And the team may even win a few more games.
About the Author: We are two long time hockey fans who certainly have our own opinions and points of view. Feel free to share yours. Follow on twitter @joshbarely