There is no question that New York Islanders General Manager Garth Snow has built a strong organization. The Islanders are a deep talented young team led by superstar John Tavares. However, Garth’s biggest mistake is one of the reasons why the Islanders have yet to reach elite status.
Snow has put the franchise in an excellent position since taking over ten years ago. The biggest criticism one could make against the New York Islanders GM is he has failed to land another significant player to his organization.
Over those last ten years, Garth Snow has done two things exceptionally well; managed his salary cap and assembled the team’s prospect pool. But one factor still eludes him; landing another impact player.
To be fair, this is a gray area to evaluate. How many impact scoring forwards have become available on the trade market in the last three years? Bobby Ryan, Phil Kessel, and this past summer Taylor Hall have all been moved.
By many accounts, the Islanders made an aggressive offer to Edmonton for Taylor Hall but at the end of the day, the Oilers made a deal with the New Jersey Devils.
Adding Kessel would have been a very risky move. Who knew what the Penguins were getting when they acquired him from Toronto. The trade for Ryan came at a heavy cost for the Senators in the form of Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen and a first round pick in 2014.
But as stated above Snow has all of the assets necessary to pull off a trade to land that elite scoring winger. That winger the Islanders need to take their organization to the next level.
Making it Fit
Did Garth Snow call Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman about Nikita Kucherov this summer? If so, did Garth let it be known he would get very aggressive with an offer to bring Kucherov to the Islanders? To land a player of Kucherov’s ilk a big aggressive offer is the only way a GM like Yzerman would make such a move.
No one but the Islanders front office knows how aggressive they tried to land an impact scoring winger this past summer, as well as over the last two to three years. But the Islanders and Snow should be very aggressive in this regard. If at the end of the day they had to pay $1.20 on the $1.00 to land a Kucherov type player, that’s a move they have to make.
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The Islanders have talented young players signed to cap friendly numbers up and down their current roster. That’s the best time for a GM to cash in some of his own chips through a blockbuster trade.
Again maybe the Islanders and Snow did make a big push for Kucherov and others but teams like Tampa weren’t willing to tango.
Personally, I would have made a very aggressive pitch this summer for Kucherov and made it very difficult for Yzerman to say no to. How about the choice of Brock Nelson or Ryan Strome, Ryan Pulock and one of the Isles top prospects such as Michael Dal Colle for Kucherov?
Garth must also realize not all trades are going to fall into his own lap like they did with Nick Leddy and Johnny Boychuk. Snow must be aggressive for the right impact player. I get it, elite wingers don’t come for free, but Snow’s job is to figure out how to get it done.
Don’t Be Afraid
The Islanders organization shouldn’t be afraid to make a mistake. Yes, the organization got burned in the Thomas Vanek trade. Franchises are going to make mistakes from time to time. Not every move works out.
Having said that, management 101 will tell you just because you obtained a bad result doesn’t mean your organization made a bad decision. The case of Thomas Vanek exemplifies this thought process.
Yes, the Vanek trade worked out poorly. Vanek did not make the impact he should have, no question about that. However, that was Thomas Vanek’s fault and not because of poor decision making. The risk was worth the trade.
The Islanders organization are in a very strong position. Because of their depth, they have the ability to be aggressive. This must be Garth Snow’s mantra moving forward. Or maybe the team needs to find someone who can.