The 2017-18 NHL season will likely be general manager Garth Snow‘s last if the New York Islanders don’t find success.
For some reason, the prevailing theory at the end of the season was for the Isles not to make the playoffs, so that general manager Garth Snow would “have to be fired.”
That was a silly way of thinking. Unlike other organizations, for the Islanders the playoffs aren’t a benchmark for success — they’re an added perk. As we saw with former head coach Jack Capuano, the Isles reward loyalty a lot more than they reward success.
There’s another reason why Isles owners Jon Ledecky and Scott Malkin didn’t ax their veteran GM: trust.
For more than a decade now, the Isles have been retooling and rebuilding their roster under Snow. Next season is when it either comes together or it doesn’t: following it, many of his core guys will become free agents, and if the Isles don’t make the playoffs, it’s time to change direction.
Of course, one could make a persuasive argument that Snow should have been fired much sooner, when his team won nothing — zilch, nada, zero — for nearly a decade. But the Isles reward loyalty, and for the Isles, that means allowing a vision — whether effective or not — to come to fruition.
When Snow, 47, took over for Mike Milbury in 2006, he began restocking the farm system. Well, it’s time to see once-and-for-all how he’s done. Guys like John Tavares, Josh Bailey, Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome and Travis Hamonic are all in the professional ranks. And guys like Joshua Ho-Sang and Mathew Barzal are about to join them.
With the looming team president search, Snow’s days are likely numbered. He’ll need a prayer to keep his job safe if his team doesn’t make the playoffs again. Sure, he’s done some good (we wrote extensively about the Lee pick), but also a lot of bad.
It’s put up or shut up time here in Brooklyn.