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Islanders: Recent Garth Snow Praise Needs Context

DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: (l-r) Lou Lamoriello and Garth Snow of the New York Islanders look at the draft board prior to the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JUNE 22: (l-r) Lou Lamoriello and Garth Snow of the New York Islanders look at the draft board prior to the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 22, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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There’s been some recent Garth Snow praise after the Islanders success. Some of those claims need some context here.

For 12 years, Garth Snow was the General Manager of the New York Islanders. His time with the team was extremely complicated in that role as there were some smart moves mixed in but ultimately, he was a fairly mediocre GM who held his job for over a decade with little success.

The Isles made the playoffs four times during his watch, and made it to the second round just once. While the team did see some moderate success, they couldn’t get over the hump which was one of his biggest flaws.

Now on a team that has Garth Snow’s fingerprints all over it, the Isles are finding success, and some are coming to the defense of Garth with revisionist history. Looking at the Isles roster, these are the players who were a Garth product, and others who weren’t

Lee (Garth) – Barzal (Garth) – Eberle (Garth)

Beauvillier (Garth) – Nelson (Garth) – Bailey (Garth)

Brassard (Lou) – Pageau (Lou) – Komarov (Lou)

Martin (Lou) – Cizikas (Garth) – Clutterbuck (Garth)

Pelech (Garth) – Pulock (Garth)

Toews (Garth) – Mayfield (Garth)

Leddy (Garth) – Greene (Lou)

Varlamov (Lou) / Greiss (Garth)

That’s 14 of a possible 20 players who were brought in during Garth’s watch. To be fair, even this logic is flawed. Brock Nelson didn’t turn into the player he is now until Barry Trotz got here, which was a Lou Lamoriello decision.

And Adam Pelech blossomed the past two years under Trotz. Yes, now Pelech at a $1.6 million cap hit looks like a steal but at the time of his signing, he had 53 games under his belt. You’re telling me that he knew Pelech was going to turn into a top-pair defenseman?

Maybe, but based on the rest of Garth Snow’s scouting history (see Michael Dal Colle, Griffin Reinhart, Ryan Strome, and Nino Niederreiter to name a few) I’d argue chances are Pelech and Nelson too for that matter are the players we know now because of Trotz.

This is the same General Manager who kept Jack Capuano employed for seven years. Who did Capuano elevate? He had a worse relationship with the young guys, something Trotz can be critiqued for sometimes, with not even the same vicinity of success.

Some put blame for John Tavares leaving on Lou Lamoriello. Lou was on the job for essentially a month before Tavares left. I’m pretty sure the nine years of mediocrity was a major factor in J.T. bolting for Toronto.

Yes, some pieces that Garth got his hands on are big factors of this team, but that doesn’t mean he’s the reason for this team’s success. If you use the analogy of a car restoration, Garth was able to do the brakes, he got the interior recarpeted, and the dents buffed out but the engine still stalled.

After 12 years of trying to figure it out, he sold the car to a master mechanic (Lou Lamoriello), who put the best possible engine in it (Barry Trotz) after Garth continued to cheap out on the engine and the motor oil (Doug Weight/Jack Capuano). Now, that car goes from having promise to a legitimate valuable classic. See the difference?

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It’s not so much about the players on the ice as it is the coach calling the shots with a proven system and a Hall of Fame General Manager running the show. Let’s not make Garth out to be this folk hero, he’s not. The Islanders’ success is thanks to Lou and Barry.

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