New York Islanders

New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow has done a commendable job as of late, and should be noted for it.

By Justin Weiss

Rebuilds are grueling ordeals.

New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow was forced to rebuild after he inherited the remnants of a decimated farm system left by Mike Milbury.

With a brutal prospect pipeline, strict budget from Charles Wang and the orders to ink oft-injured goaltender Rick DiPietro to a fifteen year deal, Snow had a lot of work to do and not a lot of resources to do it.

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The first couple of years were rough. DiPietro failed to stay on the ice, while Snow made a couple of really bad deals. The Isles were at the league’s cellar, while the fanbase grew restless.

But while the hardcore fan was moping that the team wouldn’t win a playoff series — again — the Isles’ GM was accumulating a tremendous amount of talent and depth.

Once the decision-maker surmounted the arduous rookie learning curve, the Isles began having success: they made it to the playoffs three out of four years, and advanced to the second round for the first time since 1993.

This was all made possible by a couple of virtues Snow has acquired over the years.

The first is the rare ability to find what many like to call diamonds-in-the-rough. Shane Prince, who netted multiple goals in Wednesday night’s Game 1 victory, was acquired for practically nothing at the trade deadline. Thomas Hickey, who was once a top prospect but never really took off with his old team, was signed for nothing and has contributed tremendously.

P.A. Parenteau, who complimented John Tavares on the team’s first line, was getting paid at dirt cheap. Michael Grabner, who was one of the most explosive players in the league in his first couple of seasons, was another player who exemplified this virtue.

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Another thing Snow has done well is trade from a strength. When he had a surplus of defenseman, he shipped Griffin Reinhart to Edmonton for two first round picks. When he had a bevy of top prospects, he sent Ville Pokka to the Blackhawks for Nick Leddy.

Yeah, the Thomas Vanek trade sucked.

But nearly everything else that he’s done — from dealing from strengths to finding diamonds-in-the-rough to negotiating with free agents to expertly balancing the cap — after a tough learning curve has been positive.

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