Teams not named the New York Islanders are able to fire or demote their GM, even doing so mid-season. The NHL is a copy-cat league, right? So copy Islanders. COPY!
The New York Islanders have had the same man at the helm of the franchise for just about 12 years now. With results, again, not going the way we had hoped it’s for a change.
I know. We’ve been saying that for a while now. We’ve been saying for so long that simply saying it isn’t enough. We had to step it up and make billboards in order to keep ourselves interested in the fate of the franchise. So why bring the “Snow Must Go” rabble-rousing up again?
Because something happened in the NHL this week that should provide the New York Islanders with an emulatable template to draw inspiration from. The Carolina Hurricanes moved Ron Francis from GM to President of Hockey Operations.
Now, I know this type of move isn’t novel, moving a GM “up” to the President’s chair. It’s happened before. But it hasn’t happened recently, and to a GM who’s very much part of the furniture with his organization. Just like Garth Snow is with the Islanders.
Just Move Him “Up”
We’ve long known that the New York Islanders new majority owners of John “I’m-always-on-the-LIRR” Ledecky and Scott “I say stuff too” Malkin have been looking to add a President of Hockey Operations to the organization. They probably feel exactly like Carolina Hurricanes new owner Tom Dundon on the idea of a GM/President of Hockey Ops when speaking to The Athletics Pierre LeBrun:
"And two is, the day-to-day focus on relationships with other teams and agents and really challenging everything we do and really focusing on the player side, where I think the way we have the role set up, the GM had to handle everything, almost had too much on their plate. I’d like someone to come in who can really focus on a certain portion and then have other resources around to help organize and put the structure in place."
Let’s assume like Newsday’s Islanders beat writer Andrew Gross, that the Eastern Conference playoff cutoff is at least 92 points. That means with an eight-game losing streak and only 14 games to go, or 28 points, the Islanders need at least 24 points. That’s twelve wins from a possible 14.
There’s no way the Islanders overturn that deficit. Sure, it’s possible. But I’m not that gullible. I’ll fall for a fake twitter account here and there, but to fall for the Islanders making up that kind of ground in that little time is too tall of an ask.
Garth Snow has to be at the end of his GM rope. Yet he’s still sitting in that chair.
In comes the Carolina Hurricanes. The New York Islanders have been looking for a President of Hockey Operations. They’re also looking for their team to make the playoffs. Maybe they should take the Hurricanes lead and kick Garth Snow upstairs? Give him one job to worry about and give the GM title to someone else.
If we are to believe the rumors that Garth Snow received this incredibly generous super-extension from Charles Wang before leaving as the majority owner, then this is the perfect solution.
There’s no need to buyout Garth, you just keep paying him in a lesser role. A role that doesn’t allow him to make decisions like carrying three goalies for two seasons. Or give a massive extension to fourth line players. Or fail to address a significantly depleted and failing blueline.
Look, I know we all want a clean break from Garth Snow. But I think at this point it’s clear he isn’t going anywhere. This is honestly the best option considering the situation. It’s not ideal. But it’s the best option.