Editorials

Islanders GM Garth Snow Ranks Near Bottom of League

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Mathew Barzal poses with team executives after being selected as the number sixteen overall pick to the New York Islanders in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Mathew Barzal poses with team executives after being selected as the number sixteen overall pick to the New York Islanders in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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New York Islanders fans are well aware of the pitfalls and perils that were Garth Snow’s efforts this season. But how would you rank him amongst all NHL GM since 2013? 24th?

Garth Snow‘s failings as the GM of the New York Islanders this season have been well documented. From his persistence in carrying three goalies on the active roster to keeping Jack Capuano too long and playing chicken with Jaroslav Halak.

That alone should rank him near the bottom of the league. But what if you had to review what he’s done since 2013? That’s what the people at Hockey Graphs did.

They ranked all 31 GMs against themselves based on seven different GM categories:

  1. Drafting Accuracy
  2. Developing Drafted Players
  3. Extending Rostered Players
  4. Salary Cap Maintenance
  5. Trades
  6. Unrestricted Free Agent Signings
  7. ELC-Level Free Agent Signings

I’ve seen the comments out there, and I know a portion of Isles fans have the same stock answer whenever Snow’s name is mentioned. He should be fired. He’s the worst. He’s failed to deliver. But we’re fans and sometimes we can be a bit irrational.

So what do those unattached to the team say about Garth?

Good Enough For the Bottom

Here’s what they wrote to justify Garth’s 24th place in their 31 GM ranking:

"24. Garth Snow – New York IslandersGM Score (out of 5): 2.6Best Attribute: DraftingWorst Attribute: ExtensionsChange in total GAR: -19%Max GAR Ranking: 1Garth Snow’s rapid transformation from backup goalie to somewhat competent GM surprised even his most ardent critics and brought much-needed stability to the Islanders franchise. His drafting skill is easily his high point, but if a GM’s claim to fame is overpaying to keep the “league’s best 4th line” together, then they’re probably not the one to take you to the promised land."

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It’s hard to disagree with this assessment. Garth has been solid when it comes to the draft. Since 2013 he’s drafted Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, Michael Dal Colle, Ryan Pulock, Alan Quine, Ilya Sorokin and Linus Soderstrom.

Drafting is definitely Garth’s strongest attribute as a GM. But I’d argue that his player development might be his single worst attribute as a GM.

The big money extensions to both Cal Clutterbuck and  Casey Cizikas are certainly bad ones and absolutely tipped the scales for Hockey-Graphs. But Ryan Strome‘s two-year show-me deal at $2.5 million per year was fantastic.

Since 2013 only two of his six first-round selections have made an impact at the NHL level; Anthony Beauvilier and Josh Ho-Sang. If we want to stretch it a bit further, it took Josh Bailey nine years after being drafted to show his potential. And the word is still out on Ryan Strome.

Absolutely Average

His GM Score of 2.6 out of five is absolutely spot on. It’s almost perfectly average. It’s not great, but not bad at the same time. A perfect indictment as to why he’s still around. He’s not great, but he’s not bad.

Next: Tavares Extension Is All That Matters in Judging Snow

But in the end, the best judge is going to be if Tavares signs and extension. If Tavares declines it throws shade on everything that Garth has done up to that point.

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