In 2012, New York Islanders GM Garth Snow almost made a wild trade. All his picks in 2012 to move up from fourth to second. It’s a good thing he didn’t.
In 2011-12 the New York Islanders were once again one of the worst teams in the league. They finished the season with a 34-37-11 record for 79 points. The fourth-worst record in the league.
The Isles had good offensive players like John Tavares, Matt Moulson, P.A. Parenteau, and Kyle Okposo, but they didn’t have much in the way of defense. Mark Streit was a great offensive defenseman but that’s about all the quality the Isles had on the back end. They needed help and they needed it now.
So Garth Snow decided to try and package every one of his picks in the 2012 draft to move up two spots to the second overall pick where he could select defenseman Ryan Murray.
Thankfully, in hindsight, the deal never materialized.
On the surface, the idea of trading all seven picks at the draft to move up two spots sounds wild. But the value of a second overall pick versus a fourth overall pick is considerable. The largest drop in value between two picks happens between picks three and four.
So if Garth thought Ryan Murray was going to be a slam-dunk pick by becoming that top-pair shutdown defenseman he was projected to be, then trading seven picks makes sense.
Except Murray was never that guy.
Since being drafted second overall in 2012 by the Columbus Blue Jackets Ryan Murray has gone on to play 347 games in the NHL and score 110 points.
While he was never going to be an offensive defenseman, he hasn’t necessarily lived up to the second-overall billing either. He hasn’t been that top pair shutdown defenseman that was projected.
Keeping the Picks
With those seven picks in 2012, Garth selected seven defensemen. With his first-round pick and fourth overall, he selected Griffin Reinhart. With the next six picks, Snow would take Ville Pokka, Adam Pelech, Loic Leduc, Doyle Somerby, Jesse Graham, and Jake Bischoff.
In hindsight, keeping the picks worked out better than taking Ryan Murray second overall.
Truth be told most of the picks the Isles made didn’t amount to anything. Pokka, Leduc, and Graham have yet to play in the NHL and likely never will. Jake Bischoff played four games for Vegas in 2019-20.
Both Adam Pelech and Ryan Murray are defense-first guys who do a good job of stabilizing the back end of their respective teams. And with the way that the Islanders season tanked after Pelech sustained a season-long injury, I’d argue Pelech is the better of the two. Pelech was taken 63 picks after Murray.
Griffin Reinhart was admittedly a bust. But that wasn’t clear to everyone until he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers for two picks that would eventually turn into Mathew Barzal and Anthony Beauvillier.
Thankfully the Columbus Blue Jacket declined the trade. The Islanders now have Barzal, Beauvillier, and Adam Pelech on their roster. I’ll take that over Ryan Murray.