This is going to be a surprise but New York Islanders GM Garth Snow isn’t the worst drafter in the NHL. He’s not good, or great. But he’s “aight”.
With the New York Islanders all but mathematically eliminated from the playoffs for the second year in a row, it’s hard to back GM Garth Snow. He built this team. He assembled the roster. He’s the one who stuck by the team at the trade deadline.
Look the Islanders could make the playoffs. It’s entirely possible that they find a way to make up eight points on the New Jersey Devils. They have 13 games in which to do it in. Good luck.
Missing the playoffs for the second year in a row is inexcusable. And the blame has to fall at the feet of the GM whos been there for 12 years now. But some still find a way to defend him.
Just this week actor/director and New York Islanders fan Kevin Connolly took to Twitter to back Snow. We already covered what his general points were when it happened. But I wanted to focus on a specific argument of his. And one I’ve heard before. Garth Snow is good at the draft.
Is he thought I feel like he isn’t, cause, well, it’s Garth Snow. But I don’t have much else to go by aside from a gut feeling that’s been honed thanks to 12 years of mediocrity.
Grading how a GM does at the draft is difficult. But what I decided to do was measure how well NHL GMs are at drafting NHL talent. Because at the end of the day that’s the point of the draft. Drafting NHL caliber talent.
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With that in mind, I pulled every draft pick each current GM has made during their tenure for their team. And then averaged out the number of games played by the number of picks they’ve made.
At first, all of Snow, Ken Holland (Detroit Red Wings), David Poile (Nashville Predators), and Doug Wilson (San Jose Sharks) ranked at the bottom. All are the longest-serving GMs in the league. And New York Rangers GM Jeff Gorton ranked first. One of the newest GMs in the league.
Clearly, my rankings were skewed based on tenure. By taking the number of games per draft pick and splitting it based on the number of drafts a GM has completed I was able to control for tenure.
Where Garth Ranks
As you can see Garth Snow ranks pretty well against the rest of the league. He isn’t amazing, but he’s at least above average in selecting NHL talent across every round.
*Note: 10th in the seventh round is tied for last.
Garth owes his high rank in the fifth and sixth round to Matt Martin and Anders Lee respectively. Both have played a ton in the NHL. But he still drafted them above other teams.
Overall, Garth does well when compared to his peers across the league. Which might come as a surprise to some. It did for me.
There’s always a but. And for Garth Snow, it’s how unmatched he is in first round selections. Only a single team has more than the New York Islanders 13 first round selections and six top ten picks. And that’s David Poile from Nashville, who’s been around for 20 years on an expansion team.
To have all those first round and even top ten picks, and only finish tenth overall isn’t a good look. Again, it’s not bad. But not good. (I wonder how he’d rank if Michael Dal Colle would be as good as his fifth overall said he was going to be.)
He might have drafted NHL talent but that hasn’t necessarily resulted in success. A single playoff series win, with a team he drafted, is hardly grounds to declare him successful. Fourteen of the 29 players on the New York Islanders were drafted by Garth Snow. This is his team.
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So after that review, it’s fair to say Garth has been “OK” at drafting NHL talent. No more, no less. Don’t say he’s good. He isn’t. But don’t say he’s bad either. Cause, yeah, he isn’t that either. Sorry.