Garth Snow and the New York Islanders have taken quite a beating on social media from their fans recently, but how much can really be credited to them? And could you honestly sit back and say to yourself, “I would have done a much better job with this team?” Sure, things aren’t going very well at the moment, but how mad is it?
A year later, the Islanders are a totally different looking team, and not in the good way. The Islanders are struggling, and between a few terrible trades, the Isles are looking up at the rest of the Eastern Conference, and struggling to compete on a nightly basis.
So what happened? Was last season a mirage? A fluke? My belief is yes. It’s hard to say that in a shortened season, everything would have happened the same had it been a full 82 game season. None the less, the Islanders did make the playoffs, and they did bring hope to the organization that the future is bright.
The Islanders brought in free agents Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin. Garth Snow, the general manager of the team, failed to bring in a goalie that can carry the load for the future and had to turn back to 38 year old goalie, Evgeni Nabokov.
The Islanders have the second lowest pay roll in the NHL at 51.3 million, that’s leaving 12.9 million unspent. So what should the Islanders do with their cap space? First, fixing the defense would be a great idea, and grabbing a solid, bonified, number one goalie in free agency this summer would be a huge step forward.
My belief is the fluke of the playoffs last season, gave Garth Snow and the organization false hope that their team was almost ready to win. So adding Thomas Vanek would be a good idea to spark the team that began the season struggling a bit right? Not quite.
The price Snow paid for Vanek was absurd, and Darcy Regier absolutely robbed the Islanders. The Sabres acquired Matt Moulson (later traded for two second round picks, and Cody McCormick), a first round pick, and a second round pick.
Vanek brought no immediate help to the Island and the team continued to struggle for the remainder of his time with the team. So come time for the trade deadline Vanek was once again on the block to be sent wherever any team would have him.
The price for rentals isn’t much and Snow waited until the last possible moment to make a deal, but the Islanders were only able to get a conditional second round pick and Sebastian Collberg from the Montreal Canadiens for Thomas Vanek.
The Islanders are better off without Vanek, who didn’t seem to be too happy on the Island. Garth Snow’s Vanek expirement was a failure of monumental proportions when they couldn’t get him to resign, and now looking at the overall price to bring him in, and the return they got to send him out, it’s not so great.
In the end, the Islanders gave up a first and second round pick and Matt Moulson and in return got Sebastian Collberg and a second round pick that is only good if Montreal makes the playoffs this season. Quite the goof, but Islanders fans should unfortunately be used to making terrible trades (see Roberto Luongo, Zdeno Chara).
The Islanders struggles may be nearing their end as the line of prospects looks to run deep in Bridgeport with the Sound Tigers. Within a few years, the Islanders may be able to reach the level they thought they were at last season, but for now, the organization needs to take it in strides and do their best to recover from this season, and all of the drama along with it.
Be sure to check in tomorrow for a Q&A with Fansided’s own Eyes On Isles editor Andy Graziano!