Accountability is a hard thing to adhere to, especially when you’re wrong. But New York Islanders GM did just that when speaking on Ryan Strome’s subpar 2015-16 season.
Some fans are very quick to condemn New York Islanders GM Garth Snow for the ills that have plagued the Islanders over its recent history. We ran a question on our Facebook group asking what our fans would do if they were Garth Snow for the day. We got some pretty honest comments, like: “Fire myself” or “Quit”.
Obviously, it’s fair to place some blame at Snow’s feet. He hasn’t been the perfect executive. To fair, who ever is? We remember how Snow dropped the ball with the Vanek trade a few years ago.
But recently Snow has come out to claim some accountability in one aspect of his tenures are GM. The miss management of Ryan Strome this past season. Something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The Mismanagement of Ryan Strome
I’ve added the audio from Snow’s interview on Sirius XM where he spoke on Ryan Strome. Fast-forward to the 2:55 mark of the audio track if you want to catch the Strome part. But the first few minutes are interesting. Snow talks about the chance of seeing Barzal make the lineup this fall.
(Also, the audio quality is a bit off. It sounds like its skipping. It’s not you, it’s the audio.)
So in case you’re skimming this article as most people do online and can’t be bothered to click the audio link I’ll pull the important piece of this clip. (for those that listened and are still reading; thank you).
Snow said about the handling of Strome last season: “[…]to our own fault in handling Ryan. He was drafted as a center. I personally believe he’s most effective as a center but the way our team was built in goal, a great set of defenseman and then through the middle, we didn’t have the opportunity to play him for extended periods of time at center.”
A few of you might yell: “poppycocks!” or something a bit more R-rated that my 1950’s lingo. You’d certainly have a point. There wasn’t anything preventing the team to just place Strome at center if they believed he was best served as a center.
But the importance here is admitting a mistake was made. And then fixing it.
Fixing the Problem
Lossing Frans Nielsen gives them the opportunity to play Strome at center according to Snow: “With the loss of Frans Nielsen leaving in free agency I think you’re going to see a different Ryan Strome come in and do the things that he did two years ago.”
Putting Strome in that second line slot will certainly do him some good, and hopefully, return him to his 2014-15 form. We’ll finally be able to find out if Strome really is a 50 point player. But with the loss of Nielsen that Snow alluded to, Strome will have to pick up the slack.
Last season Nielsen played just over 161 minutes shorthanded. Strome played just over two minutes shorthanded in 2015-16, a far cry from his 49 minutes back in 2014-15. Cizikas will certainly take a significant portion of Nielsen’s shorthanded duties at center, but Strome will see his ice-time on the penalty kill increase.
Just giving Strome second line duties is a gamble, but a gamble the Snow and the rest of the organization believe will be a success.
Admitting a mistake was made and then taken steps to fix that mistake takes certain qualities. If the gamble pays off Snow will have made good on his statements. But if the move is a bust I concede the point and join my Facebook compatriots.