Snow Must Go

A look at why the Isles need to move on from their long time General Manager

We’ve all worked with that guy. He’s clearly smart, he’s the most tenured guy in the office and has done some good things in the past. He got by cause he was buddies with the boss but when you really sit back and look at his track record you’re not sure he’s actually good at his job. That’s where we stand with Garth Snow. I don’t think he’s good at his job and I think it’s time for him to go, and unfortunately take his pals with him.

“His pals” are we’re I’ll start because it’s quick. Jack Capuano should’ve been fired long before last season. Probably after the 14-15 season when his team TOOK 11 SHOTS IN GAME 7. Doug Weight was hired and I like Doug, but no ones else was even interviewed. There is a “you can’t sit with us at lunch” vibe with the Isles. You’re either one of them or you’re not and that needs to end. So when I talk about Snow leaving, this one a cleaning house situation.

In 2006 In a move that I still think is one of the most bizarre in sports history, the backup goalie retired and became the General Manager. The move started off well as Snow made some smart moves and got the Isles to the playoffs in his first season as GM. While they were only an 8th seed and were bounced in 5 games by the Sabers, the injury to Rick Dipietro late in the year caused a surging team to hit the skids. After that season the 3 best players on the team left as Captain Alexei Yashin was bought out and leading scorer Jason Blake and trade deadline acquisition Ryan Smyth both left in free agency. From there a rebuild was necessary and it started in the 2008 draft when the islanders drafted Josh Bailey with the 9th pick. From there a 5 year period ensued that saw the Isles draft their franchise player but also be relegated to making such moves and trading for goalie Tim Thomas who wasn’t going to play and was just acquired to get to the cap floor. This period also saw the Isles lose. A lot.

With the losing came a lot of high draft picks, some panned out, some were used as trade chips. It all came to fruition in 2013 durning the lockout shortened season when the team made the playoffs and pushed the mighty Penguins to 6 hard fought games. This is what I consider the end of the rebuild, for those who say we are on year 12 of a 5 year rebuild. The 5 year rebuild took 5 years, it’s almost like that was the plan. Now what follows is the reason Garth should lose his job.

2013-14 Garth makes by far his riskiest move by trading locker room and fan favorite Matt Moulson and 2 picks for Thomas Vanek and while this is looked at as a bad move it worked out very well at the time. Vanek with Kyle Okposo and JT made up one of the best lines in hockey for the 3 months they were together. The problem was the team had shaky defense and goaltending then after Tavares got hurt in the Olympics the season was over. Vanek is traded at the deadline for a prospect and a 2nd round pick and the move officially blows up in Garth’s face. The following offseason was by far Snow’s best acquiring Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk, Jaro Halak, Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski. That season ended with a hard fought 7 game slobber knocker against the Capitals that they came out on the wrong side of. Basically the same team heads into the next season and, as we know, wins a playoff series but is then bounced by a more talented Tampa team. The decision was then made to let 3 fan favorites and key pieces to the team walk in free agency. Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin all left for greener pastures and left a team and a fan base confused. Martin was replaced by Jason Chimera, a more offensive player but without the edge Martin brought. Okposo was replaced by the more defensively  sound veteran presence of Andrew Ladd and Nielsen was replaced by……. well we are still waiting on that one cause it never happened. The young players that were tasked with taking his place (Anthony Beauvillier and Matt Barzal) never really got a chance. So a team that took the next step on the ice, had a step taken away. Since then it has been nothing but fighting for a playoff spot for 2 seasons due to some injuries, some bad decisions in net (Im not gonna get into the 3 goalie nonsense again) and the questionable move to trade Travis Hamonic for nothing but draft picks after making a “win now”move in getting Jordan Eberle. The return for Hammer was great, but did nothing to help the team. He could be very useful right now.

So here we are, with another deadline of the team standing pat and hoping that the defense and goaltending they put together will rise back to what they should be doing (or can be doing) and praying that Matt Barzal and old hockey loyalty keep the face of the franchise here. Was there a move that could significantly upgrade the team this year? Probably not but there have been in years past. At this point it’s either this new ownership cleans house and sells a new future to Tavares or they stand pat and keep going on the same old mediocre path.

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