Before the #NHLDraft starts, we'd like to thank the @BuffaloSabres for hosting this year. pic.twitter.com/yz0w8D7lSd
— NHL (@NHL) June 24, 2016
New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow is going to have his hands full at the 2016 NHL Draft.
As a netminder, aggression was Garth Snow’s selling point.
As an executive, it’s his deviousness.
Since taking the reins of the New York Islanders in 2006, Snow has been a master of the poker face; rarely tipping his hand or revealing his plans.
This becomes increasingly evident at the draft, when nobody has any clue of what the Isles will perform. He’s at points a wheeler-dealer, and at others a shifty selector.
This phenomenon was unmasked by Dan Saraceni of Lighthouse Hockey, who wrote a considerable article this morning entitled, “No one has any idea what the Islanders are going to do and it’s scary.”
There’s diddly-squat of a consensus surrounding who the Isles will target, with everybody from a towering defenseman to a turbo forward being rumored to be going to New York.
This has been expounded in recent weeks by the uncertainty surrounding impending unrestricted free agents Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo and Matt Martin.
There’s little unanimity regarding this offseason — and those prior.
So what will New York do at tonight’s NHL Draft?
As Saraceni phrased, “Snow has to find a way to improve a roster that’s steadily gotten better over the years but is desperately in need of a significant power-up.”
Does he accomplish this by packaging his first-round pick (his only selection in the first three rounds) for an established winger to compliment John Tavares on his wing?
Arthur Staple floated this theory in an article for Newsday last week:
“And that 19th overall pick could end up going in a trade as well. Sources indicated that Snow would be willing to move that first-round pick as part of a package for an established NHL forward if the Isles GM can find a deal to his liking.
The rumor mill has been working overtime this week, with Snow among numerous GMs who are trying to remake their teams with the specter of a flat salary cap heading into next season and the prospect of an expansion draft looming next offseason. That may mean some surprising names could be bandied about in trade talks when the teams convene on the First Niagara Center on Friday to begin the draft.”
If Snow doesn’t encounter an offer that pleases him, he’ll be forced to resort to actually picking a kid at the appropriately entitled “NHL DRAFT.”
Elite Sports NY has profiled multiple potential picks, from Max Jones to Michael McLeod to Logan Stanley.
While we won’t yet know what the Isles plan on doing this weekend, one thing is for certain when the team departs Buffalo’s First Niagara Center: Snow will continue to be a duplicitous figure.