Former New York Islanders GM Garth Snow hasn't served in that role since 2018 but has remained part of the organization over the last five years. After spending the last three years as head coach of the P.A.L. Jr. Islanders, a team that included one of his sons, his contract has come to an end, and Snow is free to take on a new challenge in a new setting.
In a story from Kevin Kurz in The Athletic, Snow indicated he wants to get back in the NHL, and the success of players he drafted during his long tenure may help his candidacy. Snow watched as several of his draft picks elevated their games under new management as the team underwent a remarkable turnaround in 2018-19, followed by back-to-back deep playoff runs that ended one round away from the Stanley Cup Final.
"I was ecstatic and proud of the way guys performed, said Snow. "Really validated the reasons we identified or selected or traded or picked up players off waivers."
While most of the fanbase looks back on Snow's time as GM unfavorably, there are also plenty of ways for him to find validation in how certain players have developed and have contributed to the organization on and off the ice.
The current roster includes four All-Stars he drafted (Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson, Ilya Sorokin, and Adam Pelech). There are also key contributors Ryan Pulock, Scott Mayfield, Casey Cizikas, and Matt Martin. Snow also traded for Cal Clutterbuck. The selection of Josh Bailey 9th overall in 2008 started his first rebuild. Bailey was named an All-Star in 2018 and finished third in games played in franchise history.
While Lamoriello inherited these players, it's been his choice to keep them. All of the aforementioned Islanders are under contracts handed out by Lamoriello and not Snow. Despite missing the playoffs in consecutive seasons prior to taking over, current GM Lou Lamoriello didn't break up the Islanders roster upon arrival. He knew there was talent on the roster and hired Barry Trotz to cultivate it. The accountability and structure that was missing were put in place, and the results followed.
It begs one to wonder how Snow's tenure would've been different had he chosen to go with more established NHL coaches rather than Jack Capuano and Doug Weight, both of whom have not had another opportunity to lead a team behind the bench since.
In 12 years, Snow had his fair of misses along with hits.
First-round picks Michael Dal Colle, Josh Ho-Sang, and Griffin Reinhart all failed to become regular NHL players. Ryan Strome has had a nice career since being traded to Edmonton for Jordan Eberle but isn't the offensive playmaker the Isles hoped to have 5th overall. While his reputation as a talent evaluator may have improved in retrospect, his failure to create the right type of environment to develop that talent remains on his record as well.
It'll be interesting to see what team, if any, thinks that record is worth another shot.