The Bottom Line
In hindsight, vision is 20/20. If Snow knew that those draft picks would have panned out in the form of Brannstrom, Stone, Tatar or Pacioretty, he might not have made the trade. Nonetheless, Snow was acting only on the information available to him at that time.
That information told him that Nelson, Bailey, Strome, de Haan, and others were solid players and could help the team in the long run. He wound up being right about most of them.
One could argue that had Snow just added those guys to his original protect list, then he would not have needed to make this trade. Nonetheless, Snow’s hands were tied. Take a look at the protect list he created:
Andrew Ladd (F)
Anders Lee (F)
John Tavares (F)
Johnny Boychuk (D)
Travis Hamonic (D)
Nick Leddy (D)
Adam Pelech (D)
Ryan Pulock (D)
Thomas Greiss (G)
The seemingly obvious mistake on this list is Ladd. Nonetheless, Ladd had a “No Movement” clause. So did the aging Johnny Boychuk. Both players had to be on the list. Thomas Greiss needed to as well, as the Islanders were required to protect a goalie.
Really the only player the Islanders possibly should have removed from this list was Adam Pelech. The Islanders could have substituted Nelson in his place. That being said, the Islanders still wanted to protect Bailey, Strome and de Haan. Frankly, losing Pelech to the Golden Knights would not have been that great either.
Snow did not have much flexibility with his protect list, so it is hard to blame him for making a trade that protected virtually the entire roster. Yes, he might have liked to have kept those draft picks, but he had no way of knowing that they could transform into an Erik Brannstrom or Mark Stone or Max Pacioretty.
Instead, Snow managed to hold on to some key players and even acquired Jordan Eberle. These players helped the Islanders advance to the playoffs last year, and are likely on their way to doing so again this year.
At the end of the day, I think the trade was a wash. The trade prevented the Islanders from acquiring some key players, yet it allowed them to hold on to their own key players.
Final Grade: B
All uncited stats came from Hockey Reference.