Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
It seemed like just yesterday we were praising this team for how well they were set for the future. In 2014-15, they finished a season where they made the playoffs, and fought a valiant seven games, while being seventh in the league in possession. Sure, they lucked out by getting Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk, but they were a competitive team, and they still had some decent prospects in the minors.
Even at the 2015 draft they lucked out, as they swapped draft bust Griffin Reinhart for a 1st and a 2nd, and managed to get Matthew Barzal after Boston whiffed on him with three straight picks. Garth Snow was a genius.
But here they are, two seasons later, and now with very little hope in sight. The team sits in 14th in the East, and they have the second worst possession team to only the Arizona Coyotes at 45.42%. Their offense is mediocre, but their shot suppression is terrible, allowing 64.98 even strength shot attempts against per 60 minutes. Oh, and they just screwed themselves in the cap by locking up a fourth liner long term yesterday.
So, what happened? How did Garth Snow suddenly become dumb, after building such a great team?
The truth is: he was never smart in the first place. The man seems to have a horseshoe shoved up his ass, because his GM PDO is very high. All of his good players required no skill to acquire. Most of his good young players were gimmes in the draft in the top five. His two best defensemen were acquired solely because their teams were in cap hell.
“But sometimes you have to suck to get good players! Look at Chicago, Los Angeles, and Pittsburgh!”
True, but they also didn’t screw up their gimme picks as much as Snow. Michael Dal Colle currently has 11 points in 22 games in the AHL, while William Nylander, Nikolaj Ehlers, Kevin Fiala, Julius Honka, Dylan Larkin, Robby Fabbri, David Pastrnak, and Christian Dvorak are all performing well in the NHL. Josh Ho Sang seems to have this amazing talent of pissing everyone off. They were lucky to get rid of Griffin Reinhart when they could. Garth Snow’s missed more empty net tap-ins in the draft than Patrick Stefan.
Then there’s their free agency this summer. Snow decided to not sign Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen, and instead opted to go with Andrew Ladd and Jason Chimera. Makes sense right? Now, some people are saying that’s because of the new arena situation, but that doesn’t make Buffalo and Detroit any more attractive.
Oh, and there’s the cap thing as well. The Islanders have three forwards locked up after next season, aside from Anthony Beauvillier and Anders Lee: Ladd, Casey Cisikas, and Cal Clutterbuck. One’s an aging veteran well past his prime, and the other two are fourth liners. You know who they have to re-sign in the next two years? Josh Bailey, Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome, Shane Prince, and Alan Quine. Oh, and that other guy. I think his name is John Tavares.
All in all, every single one of Garth Snow’s “great moves” can usually be associated with luck, and having players fall on his lap. Once that happens, he doesn’t know what to do with them. He either lets them walk, waives them, or trades them for Cal Clutterbuck. He’s put himself in a position where his cap situation is awful, solely because he felt like his fourth liners were valuable pieces to the team, forgetting that there are cheaper options in free agency. Hell, they had a cheaper option, who they handed to the New Jersey Devils because they had to have Clutterbuck, Cizikas, and Chimera in the lineup.
The hilarious thing about the fourth line debacle is that let arguably the better of the three walk to free agency, for a cheaper, shorter deal. I hate the Matt Martin contract, and yet I love it compared to these deals.
All that Snow has done is shown us that he belongs back into the conversation of worst GM in the league, which is saying something, because that means he’s just as bad as GM’s who have traded PK Subban and a guy who traded Taylor Hall. Meanwhile, he’s wasting a generational talent because of this, and not surrounding him with a good team. I’ve seen this before with Mats Sundin and Phil Kessel, and trust me, it sucks when they leave knowing that you wasted their prime years for nothing.
So Garth Snow, you better smarten up, before the face of the franchise decides to abandon ship. His contract is up in two years, so the clock is ticking.