I’m sure you all are thinking “Gee, what are these two going to say about the absolute disaster that Garth Snow delivered at the trade deadline?” And you want to know what? Garth Snow indeed delivered an absolute disaster at the trade deadline.
Let’s start with the player that Snow had to dangle- Thomas Vanek. Vanek was considered universally to be the cream of the crop of trade deadline assets. And Vanek was traded straight up for a B level prospect.
We know that if Montreal makes the playoffs, the Islanders also receive a second round pick. Can you name the ONLY second round pick used by Garth Snow to provide an NHL player in the 7 drafts run by Snow thusfar? There’s not exactly a great record of success in that spot. And that Snow had to trade a 5th round pick to get such is even worse, because one of Snow’s two skills as a GM is finding 4th line talent in later rounds of the draft.
We realize that winning teams are up against the cap. The Islanders have no idea what that means, unless you mean cap floor, then they’re all about reaching up for it. These teams- two in particular- are on record with real offers for Vanek. The condition was that the Islanders had to take back a bad contract to make things fit, payroll wise.
Garth Snow has said on record that cap flexibility is a strength for this club. That he kicks tires, whatever that means. He has said that he would leave no stone unturned when it came to improving his club. And we all know what happened next.
Stones were unturned. Tires weren’t kicked. Bad contracts were not taken back. The team was not improved. This is not shocking, considering Garth Snow is the worst GM in the NHL, and is somehow getting worse as he goes along.
Now, what would we have done, as armchair GM’s? A few things. Taken back a bad contract would have been one, as long as that bad contract expired this year (talking to you, Dany Heatley). But what if our allegedly criminal boss told us that salary absorption wasn’t an option? Well then, we wouldn’t have traded Vanek.
Why, do you ask? Well, we could always trade rights after the season. We’re pretty sure that the return would be similar- a prospect that isn’t going to make the NHL. Snow got one of those for Mark Streit last year. And in the meantime, the Islanders could have preserved much of their top line, and let Ryan Strome try to learn from seasoned players, rather than pairing him up with fellow inexperienced rookies.
Now, some of the #IslesKoolAid crowd disagrees with this. They want to see the rookies come up and get their lumps learning NHL caliber hockey…from other teams, as the NYI is only an NHL team in address. We’re rather stunned by this. In our eyes, it is absolutely sickening that Islander fans see winning as a negative thing at the end of this lost season. The logic of “If we are a lottery team, we get to keep our pick” is a flawed argument.
First off, this draft is the worst in 10 years. We have better chance of getting an NHL caliber player drafting somewhere between a very hopeful 10 and 20 next year. Secondly, who is doing the picking? The kids taken in the first round of 2009 and 2010 are making NHL debuts in 2013 and 2014. So the kid taken top 10 in 2014? See you in the seasons spanning 2018-2020. Just in time for the Tavares contract to expire. In other words, this draft pick is not helping.
And if they chose to use the pick this year on a teenager or even to trade – hey, hey, stop laughing- the pick from 2014-15 will likely be a lottery pick because you know damn well the team you see now is the team you will see opening night. Arthur Staple has already hinted that Anders Lee is penciled in as Thomas Vanek, and that they ONLY significant signing to expect from this team in at goaltender….after they look to bring Evgeny Nabokov back as a backup. Guess the Kevin Poulin Anders Nilsson Mikko Koskinen era of Snow picks has officially failed. Oh, and Cody Rosen, too.
But hey, we could be wrong. Maybe Griffin Reinhart isn’t being handed the Andrew MacDonald role, and Anders Lee the one of Vanek. Heck, maybe the Islanders will go out and pursue a forward that ISN’T on his last legs, like they’ve never done in the Snow era. If you think we’re wrong, tell us why!
Are we wrong because Snow has accurately addressed our glaring holes during the past 3 offseasons? Are we wrong because Garth and the Isles don’t overrate their own prospects? Are we wrong because Garth actually made good first, second and third round draft picks? Are we wrong because Islanders management won’t put too much stock into players producing when nothing is on the line? Are wrong because the Islanders will replace Thomas Vanek with another 40 goal scorer? Are we wrong because Evgeny Nabokov, or worse yet, Ray Emery won’t be our goalie next year? The list can go on and on.
Here is what the Islanders need to do. Quite frankly it’s the exact same list they’ve had for the past 3 years. The Islanders need a top pairing defenseman, a scoring wing, a second line center/wing and an established NHL goalie approaching or in their prime. Most importantly, they need a real coaching staff and front office.
Here’s what the Islanders won’t do, the only prediction guaranteed to come true: acquire a top pairing defenseman, a scoring wing, a second line center/wing and an established NHL goalie approaching or in their prime. There is no chance that a real coach, you know, someone from outside the organization, is brought in. And there is absolutely no chance the front office is upgraded.
Hey, wait- a second line center? Ryan Strome is our second line center! Listen, in the future he may be, but right now he looks Josh Bailey part deux. Much like Teen Wolf, Major League and Caddyshack, there is no need for such a sequel. We understand the jury is still very much out on Mr. Strome, ourselves included. However, every game that goes by, whether he is misused or not, when he’s not contributing on offense, its a problem. And if Strome is your center, then he needs a good two-way wing just like JT. Wings seem available in the NHL, but why would anyone want to come here and lose?
It was proven how effective John Tavares and Kyle Okposo could be with a complimentary third wheel. With Johnny nursing a knee injury, and the uncertainty that presents toward skating, we feel a third option will be a must find, and preferably someone with speed to complement Okposo’s grit.
A real upgrade on defense is an absolute must. Not someone to replace Andrew MacDonald or Brian Strait. Someone to keep the likes of Hamonic and deHann as a second pairing. Let Reinhart play on the third pairing, preferably with a veteran d-man, but if it has to be, let it be with Thomas Hickey, who is somehow an unbelievable +16 in the last 2 seasons with this mess around him. The dream? P.K Subban was available last year and he will be available this year. He is John Tavares’ friend and apparently they’re still as close as ever. Enough with the bad attitude excuse. This Norris trophy winner is a machine that will kill to win with his close friend JT91. We got Strome and Moulson because of JT91. Johnny loved playing with and hated playing against Clutterbuck, and Snow got him. Go get P.K. There’s a top 3 pick this season that may help seal the deal, and really, what not named Reinhart or Pulock in this system is untouchable? While you are it, go get his little brother as well. His stats are better than the highly touted Gibson on Anaheim and he is blocked by a goalie going nowhere on a win now team. You will still need to get a veteran to help Malcolm learn the ropes, but, if you are good you are good plain and simple. Also, it’s not like we are expected to contend for a cup, just improve, make the playoffs and get the buzz going. Acquiring two thirds of the Subban family will make that happen.
#IslesKoolAid is silly enough to actually root for Doug Weight to replace Jack Capuano if Capuano is actually held to the standards that most NHL coaches are, instead of how cheap he’ll work. If anyone has watched the job Doug Weight has done with the special teams this year, them wanting to see his role expand is absolutely clueless about hockey. That’s like naming George W. Bush as Secretary of Education, or Garth Snow as General Manager.
It’s of our opinion – and at this point somewhat fact- that Garth Snow is the worst general manager in Islanders history. Worse than Milbury. He refuses to build around one of the top five players in the league. Do not give us the ol’ Wang puppet strings excuse. He shelled out money to Bailey, Clutterbuck and Grabner. He’s made absurd (in different directions) offers to MacDonald and Vanek. He hardly tries and he always fails. He is flat out not good. He traded away one of his own heralded, rebuild speeding lottery picks for a grinder. He refuses to maximize his remaining two. His is piss poor at asset management, hands down.
So, what to expect from here on out? Over the last 20 games, expect Grabner and Bailey to get hot. Dr. Anders Lee and the defense will also contribute. This, along with the Tavares injury, will give Garth the fuel he needs to stall and do nothing over the off season. Understand that he actually targeted Brian Elliot and Ray Emery as the goaltender of the future. That’s what he looks at. Are either of those clear upgrades over Nabokov? Nope. Expect a Heatley type on a one year deal for a potential Tavares resurrection that didn’t work for PM Bouchard, and a 35 year old d-man that’s past his prime by two or three seasons. Nabby in net with Poulin or Nilsson as his backup. Why trade for Malcom Subban? He may be good, that’s why. Heck, why trade for anyone when we can have…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