The New York Islanders are currently having a “decent” season. The team had a rough start in the beginning of the year with the loss of Kyle Okposo, Matt Martin, and Frans Nielsen. However, it seems that the team is getting more used to the new setup. But for a team that has so much potential, and has made the playoffs two years in a row, why hasn’t the team made it any further? Many fans blame the coaching done by Jack Capuano. Many other fans blame the managing of former Islanders’ goalie, Garth Snow.
Personally, I would have to agree with the fans who believe it is Garth that is preventing the team from winning a Stanley Cup. It has been ten years for Garth Snow as the GM and I feel that he has made some contributions that have helped but he’s also made a lot of stupid choices. Now, lets take a step back and look at Garth’s history with the Islanders and what he has done wrong ever since he was hired.
Garth Snow was originally a New York Islanders goalie, as the back up goalie for Chris Osgood and Rick DiPietro. However in 2006 when Garth retired, he was named General Manager of the team, replacing Neil Smith (who has actually won a Stanley Cup as a GM). Through those years as GM, Garth has had his highs and lows. His lows as GM have truly prevented the team from growing.
For instance, in the 2008 Entry Draft, Garth Snow and the Islanders selected Josh Bailey. Yeah, you know Josh Bailey, famous for his sloppy performances and lack of scoring. Josh Bailey has even earned himself a song made by Islander fans who sat at the former Moe’s Section at the Nassau Coliseum. The lyrics of the song is a parody of the song “Hey Baby” by Bruce Channel and it goes like this, “Hey! Josh Bailey, I want to know, if you’ll score a goal”. And to make matters worse, Erik Karlsson (two time James Norris Memorial Trophy Winner) and Jordan Eberle (All Star and led Oilers in goals in 2012) were also available in the same round of the draft.
Another example of Garth’s many bad decisions would be the 2011 draft pick of Ryan Strome. Ryan Strome hasn’t been a very impressive player ever since the team drafted him. What makes this pick even worse is that like the 2008 draft, there were far more impressive players available, such as Jonas Brodin and Mark Scheifele.
My third example is going away from draft picks and more into trading. In 2013, the Islanders and Garth Snow traded Matt Moulson for Thomas Vanek. Now this specific scenario still bothers me to this day. Matt Moulson and John Tavares had such fantastic chemistry on their line and for some reason Garth decided, “Hey, let’s get rid of one of our best players who also works well with our other best player so we can get Thomas Vanek, who doesn’t even want to play for us.” Thomas Vanek didn’t even stay on the Islanders for more than one year. What a complete waste of a trade and it led the Islanders to a horrible season (also due to John Tavares’s injury at the Sochi Olympics).
Finally, the last decision that Garth Snow made that I felt was ridiculous was allowing Matt Martin and Kyle Okposo to leave the team. We all know that Frans Nielsen wanted to leave the Islanders to go to Detroit and Garth even offered an identical contract like Detroit’s. But he seriously did not try at all to keep Okposo and Martin on the roster. He just let them leave. And to make this situation even worse, Garth offered Casey Cizikas a $16.75 million contract. Cizikas is a good player but he is not worth $16.75 million. He decided to offer Cizikas a huge contract instead of offering to either Okposo or Martin? You’ve got to be kidding me. With Okposo and Martin, the Islanders made the playoffs two years in a row. The team was actually growing from 2012 to 2016. But for some reason, Garth wanted to do what he does best and prevent the team from succeeding.
It’s like he has it out for the Islanders for not starting him in net while he was a goalie for them, but lets not make this into a whole conspiracy. In all honesty, Garth has made some really good decisions like picking up Tavares and Pulock. But I feel like he has made more mistakes in his ten years of being GM than contributions to the team. I hope we eventually get back to where we were last year but for now it’s still too early in the season to tell. If the Islanders blow it this year, I wouldn’t be shocked if Garth loses his job.