Folks, we’ve made our disgust for Garth Snow and Charles Wang no secret. That fact that we’re seeing the fruits of the 7 year long Snow rebuild- and by fruits, we mean a 9 game losing streak and no help from his first round draft picks except in Minnesota- shows us that it’s high time Snow and Capuano get the boot. It’s easy to look at this hot steaming pile of awful and say “we told you so” because, well, we did over the summer. But what’s more entertaining is reminding fans how they got here.
Let us look at the notable moves and judgments that Garth Snow has made in his career:
- Firing Ted Nolan, after a season where the playoffs were missed and for not playing the Islanders highly touted prospects. You may remember those guys who later set the league on fire- Jeff Tambellini, Blake Comeu and Chris Campoli. Guess hindsight is 20-20. Or Ted Nolan was just correct about being able to see the future.
- Hiring Scott Gordon to reboot the franchise with “overspeed” at the start of the rebuild, then never getting players that could adhere to that system.
- Firing Scott Gordon, post November swoon, and rightfully so. After all, why would keep a coach that can’t get the most out of his players? Why would you keep a coach that can’t adapt in game? Why would you keep a coach that has seemingly lost the team? Hmmmm…
- Hiring Jack Capuano, in Snows own words, “the decision was an easy one, Jack is one of the best x’s and o’s guys in the league” Maybe Snow should have realized that by league, he meant ECHL.
- Keeping Jack Capuano, post November swoon, post playoffs. Hey might as well keep a guy that can’t get the most from his players, who can’t adapt in game and that has seemingly lost the team.
Snow’s record for trades was established with a deal with the Edmonton Oilers deal. In fact, Snow has acquired the following the players of note:
Ryan Smyth – good trade, fair offer that was turned down, established a pattern in Garth’s career as it was his only major trade for a human being for 6 years.
P.A. Parenteau – got him for free, let him walk for free, used his money to resign Josh Bailey, and sign Pierre-Marc Bouchard, Peter Regin and Brad Boyes. P.A has 59 points since leaving the Island. John Tavares has had what seems like 59 wings since he left. The other players that ate up PA’s money have a combined 113 points in that time period, so four times the personnel have done twice the scoring; in other words, they’ve been half as productive. The closest person the PA’s production is Brad Boyes, with 48 points in that time span, meaning the score stands at PA 59 points, Regin/PMB/Bailey 65 points. Yikes.
Matt Moulson – signed for nothing, traded for Thomas Vanek. For all Matt gave on the ice, he was not as valuable as the goals he scored. He was virtually useless for the Islanders in the last two seasons at even strength, and we are pretty sure he was sacred of the corners… and human contact. With that said, Moulson was a guy you wanted to win with because he was seemingly excited to be here and he and Tavares were good friends. You can’t really complain about getting Vanek. The sting of this trade will come July 1st or at the deadline seeing how we will surely be sellers if nothing changes, and looking back, Garth Snow will have traded a 30 goal scorer and 2 draft picks for 2 draft picks of lower quality.
Lubomir Visnovsky – acquired via a trade for draft pick. He did not want to come here, meaning he had a good read on the GM and the situation. Obviously Lubo was a key addition. However, he has been out of the line up more games than he has been in it. And as we opined in the preseason, asking a 36 year old to log 25 minutes a game can be a dangerous thing. and it was. Also, here’s an interesting stat: the power play was 25% effective with Lubo at the point. It stands at 12.5% effective when he’s not there. Lubo is twice as good as his replacements.
Michael Grabner – Waiver wire gold, said Snow as he handed over a 5 year contract after a breakout season. You sure about that, Garth? Since his 34 goal outburst, he netted 20, then was on pace for 25 or so last year. This year, we are not sure if he will see game 34. His chances are still there, and so are many missed opportunities. He is both uncoached and lost. Let another team find him.
Thomas Hickey/Brian Strait – waiver wire signees. Eh, take them or leave them. Remember Jamie Heward and Jamie Rivers? So do we. At least they weren’t signed to three year deals. Hickey looks good because others around him are that bad. Aaron Ness looks to project to the same career. Strait, like Vis, has been out of games more than he has been in them. What a find! We’re glad Doug Weight spoke about how they scouted Strait for two years-but not making a trade for him, mind you- before Pittsburgh let him go for nothing.
Cal Clutterbuck – traded for with an actual human being- the only other forward of note drafted by Garth Snow in the NHL- Nino Niederrieter. Given a fat contract without ever lacing up with the team that will come back to hurt them when Matt Martin asks for the same deal for being the same player. So far, not so good. For us anyway. Understand that a physical player like Cal got a four year deal coming off a multiple injury plagued season. How did knee injuries work out for Alexei Yashin, Jon Sim and Rick DiPietro? Just curious how that pattern in other Snow signings and teammates was overlooked.
Looking at just the first and second rounds, Garth Snow drafted the following players of note. By note, we mean we’re not looking at players that are backup goalies or fourth line contributors. These are supposed impact picks and players.
Josh Bailey – is one of the most consistent players in the NHL. We said consistent, it doesn’t imply we mean good. Open your eyes, go to NHL.com, search Josh Bailey, look at his career stats, his game logs, his split stats and then tell us Garth did a great job dishing out a five year contract with a 300% to this guy. Thank god he’s a nice guy.
John Tavares – there have been three highly touted players in the last 20 years. Those who were talked about well before their draft year. They are Eric Lindros, Sidney Crosby and John Tavares. Garth Snow does not get credit for drafting John Tavares. It was a layup. Go ahead and yell at us for it. Or call up Snow and ask him why isn’t he finding wingers for Tavares to get comfortable with?
Travis Hamonic – the ONLY second round pick to be utilized by Garth Snow. You know, because that is how you field a team going through a supposed rebuild. Yes a home run, but even Rey Ordonez had twelve of those in his career. Rey Ordonez.
Ryan Strome – the only player from the top 15 of his draft class not to see NHL time. Only the second top 5 player in the salary cap era to not play in the NHL within 2 years of being drafted, joining Thomas Hickey in those honors. Leading the AHL in scoring. You know, because lottery picks who have never scored less than a point and a half game at every level need to develop on one of the worst minor league teams in the AHL. He needs to play defense you say? Tell that to Steve Yzerman, Pavel Bure or Alexander Ovechkin. John Tavares has outscored lines 2 and 3 combined, but Snow sees no need to promote a scoring center.
Nino Niederreiter – the follow up to John Tavares. This could have been Tavares’ wing for the next 15 years. Instead he’s Cal Clutterbuck. Bad pick, bad development and bad trade. Emphasized by passing on Cam Fowler, then offering your entire draft for a defenseman a year later, and overall drafting 13 defensemen since. Anyway you look at it, there is a black cloud over that pick.
Mikko Koskinan – Ryan O’Reilly was available and Snow took who? We know, hind sight and all that. So Snow took a goalie, then send him to the ECHL and then loaned him to Finland. After putting up good numbers, he ends up in the KHL. Hey, you know what this team needs? A GOALIE.
Brock Nelson – you’re a center, you’re a wing, you’re a center, you’re a wing. You are benched, you are on the first line, you are benched, you are the fourth line. With Garth and Coach Cappy at the helm, players never know what’s coming. We’re sure this is helping make great strides in his development. Nino part two?
Griffin Reinhart – hey Griffin stay for 3 games, for no reason, then go back to juniors…for no reason. And then be invited to Team Canada’s camp, even though you have a looming international 3 game suspension that the invote committee overlooked because you’re that good. But not for the Islanders, apparently. By the way, what do the Islanders desperately need? A DEFENSEMAN.
Ryan Pullock – see you in 4 years. Maybe.
Calvin De Haan – drafted in 2009, has played 1 game. Now suddenly after a quarter of a season in Bridgeport, after again not making the team out of camp, he will save our season. He was a powerplay “quarterback” at Bridgeport with a whopping 3 points. Here is a prediction- he won’t be on the first unit power play and thus will be useless on the powerplay, as the Islanders second power play unit should come out to “Send in the Clowns” or our personal favorite, the Benny Hill theme.
Weather it is coaches, players or draft picks, one thing is evident. Garth Snow is awful at asset management.
Snow apologists like to quote random excuses. We’re going to expose those misconceptions below.
“We have no money to spend.”
The Islanders have money to spend. Garth Snow chooses not to spend it. How do we know? Because Forbes estimated that the Islanders gate is worth $61 million. The Cablevision deal is worth $25 million. the NBC and Canadian TV rights are worth over $20 million. Revenue sharing from the last CBA is worth $5 million a year. The radio station is free of cost to the team. That’s over a $100 million dollars. We also know that money is there because the value of the franchise increased last year. So stop saying it’s the building, and ask yourself this- when was the last time an Islanders player left via free agency? When was the last time a RFA didn’t get a substantial raise?
Are the Isles allowed to spend to the ceiling? No, of course not. Can they spend above the floor? ABSOLUTELY. The money spent on Brad Boyes, Josh Bailey, Evegeny Nabokov, Pierre Marc Bouchard, Cal Clutterbuck, Lubomir Visnovsky, Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner, John Tavares, Thomas Hickey, Travis Hamonic, Frans Nielsen and Matt Moulson shows that the Islanders do indeed have a checking account. Likewise, Snow has repeatedly said that he has made either fair or better offers to players and the deciding factor weather or not to come here was the building, not money. Either we are right or Snow is a liar. Either we win.
“18-19 year olds need development time”
The following top 5 picks, taken in the last 6 drafts have seen no more then one year in Juniors before playing in the NHL and contributing:
Steven Stamkos, Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian, Luke Schenn, John Tavares, Matt Duchene, Victor Hedman, Evander Kane, Dimitri Kulikov, Taylor Hall, Tyler Seguin, Nino Niederreiter, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Gabriel Landeskog, Adam Larsson, Nail Yakupov, Ryan Murray, Alex Galchenykuv, Morgan Rielly, Nathan MacKinon, Aleksander Barkov, Seth Jones and Elias Lindholm. That is twenty-four players out of thirty. Of those six that are in desperate need of development, two are Islanders. Griffin Reinhart and Ryan Strome. Either they were bad picks, or they’re being developed poorly. Either way Garth has some explaining to do. Are all of the above players all-stars? No. But are we to believe Ryan Strome and/or Griffin Reinhart can’t outplay some of the above players? No.
“We have a great farm system. ”
Name us 3 offensive forwards in our great system that you feel will make a difference here and where they will be playing. 7 years of drafting, and we can’t.
“Goalies are easy to find.”
When Snow failed to address the dire need for stability or upgrade at this position, many Islander fans said the following: You can always get goaltending during the season and Garth Snow did try to get a better goalie, but no one liked his offers.
1- What goalies are available? Edmonton has released and signed a goalie. Other than Labarbera and Bryzgalof and of course Ryan Miller, who are we going to get or who has been or is available today?
2- Snow offered our 15th pick for Schneider and Vancouver said no. Snow also offered DiPietro for Luongo. Shocker, Vancouver also said no. That is not trying to add a player to your team. That is throwing shit against the wall and hoping it sticks. Snow could have made an offer for Bernier, but didn’t. Snow could have made an offer for Reimer, after Toronto acquired Bernier, but didn’t. Snow could have signed another veteran to split time with Nabokov, but didn’t. Instead, Garth said, “what’s wrong with goalies we got? We got Nabby, who else?” “Poulin, Nilsson, Cody Rosen.”
“Goalies are hard to find.”
Other fans said that Snow did due diligence this summer and just couldn’t make a fair deal. That is truly unbelievable. What Snow did was WASTE ASSETS. Think about what exited this organization in recent months- a first round pick, a second round pick, a lottery pick, and a 30 goal scorer. All of that couldn’t have acquired a goalie? Add in the 15th overall from last draft- which was an option at the time- and you couldn’t acquire a goalie and a defender? Snow could have obviously used those assets to get a goalie- a major team need- but we’re guessing he ran out of anytime minutes and Wang wasn’t around to authorize another $20 for the phone bill. And god forbid scouting the KHL for a goalie!
That Buffalo had Miller and Vanek available and Snow came back with just one of them – the forward- speaks volumes as to his inability to manage assets and assess needs. Snow, it’s time. Fire yourself.
Go ahead and look for yourselves. The only reason the Garth Snow Islanders have any sort of chance to do well is because of John Tavares. Otherwise, there is no accountability, no plan, no drafting, no trades, no free agents and no hope. As long as Garth Snow is here, there is no reason to expect anything other than more of the same.
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