New York Islanders GM Garth Snow’s Incredibly Long Leash (Opinion)

BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25: (l-r) Charles Wang and Garth Snow attend the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - JUNE 25: (l-r) Charles Wang and Garth Snow attend the 2016 NHL Draft on June 25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

What’s it going to take for New York Islanders General Manager Garth Snow to be on the hot seat? How much leash does he get going into 2017-18 from ownership?

I was reading some of The Ringer’s offseason NBA coverage and read an article about NBA Coaches on the hot seat. And it got me thinking about the New York Islanders and their long-standing GM Garth Snow.

I know he’s not the coach, but I can’t see Doug Weight being on the hot seat after spending most of the off season assembling his coaching super-team.

After the New York Islanders missed the playoffs for the first time after back-to-back 100 point seasons we all thought that Garth Snow would be gone. After all, it was John Ledecky that said the expectation was to make the conference finals in 2016-17.

Speaking to Newsday just over a year ago, Ledecky said the following about the expectations for the 2016-17 season:

"“We won the first round. We went to the second round. The standard this year has to be, you won the second round and went to the third round.”"

As we all know, months later the New York Islanders would miss the playoffs on the before last day by a single point. They wouldn’t even get the chance to make it out of the first round. Surely, missing out on the playoffs would be a fireable offense.

Especially since it could be argued that it was Garth who allowed Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo to walk. It was Garth that kept a third goaltender on the roster for….reasons. And it was Garth that kept Jack Capuano on the bench when it was clear he’d passed his shelf life.

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But yet, Garth remains. It’s not like he’s all bad. Garth has still managed to create one of the deepest prospect pools in the NHL. Something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by his superiors.

Ledecky had the following praise for his GM’s ability to stock the farm back in July of 2016:

"“You look at our farm system, and I know some of you follow our team at that level, I think developing players has been excellent, and I think they’re doing a great job.”"

What It Will Take

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Well if Puck Soup’s Dave Lozo is to be believed it either going to be a bunch of money or another nine or so years. See, according to Lozo*, rumor is that upon his departure as majority owner Charles Wang gave Garth a 10-year contract extension.

*Lozo lays out the rumor at the 11:30 mark of the podcast.

Aside from unsubstantiated rumor, what’s it going to take for Snow to be let go? How long is his leash exactly?

The John Tavares has to be ownership’s tipping point. If there’s even a hint that Tavares won’t sign an extension due to the roster you’d have to imagine Garth is gone instantaneously.

You’d like to think that no playoffs means no job. That has to be the bottom line. Regardless of any pending arena deal. Failing to capture the sweet sweet revenue of at least two playoff home dates has to be grounds for dismissal.

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But in all reality, it’s Tavares and only Tavares that can get Garth out of his seat. It’s not that Garth needs to go, though I’m sure some will have read the title of this piece and already comment such. It’s just a thought experiment on just how hot is Garth’s set right now? I’d set it at room temperature. But come February and no Tavares signature? That seat’s gonna’ be scalding hot.