Rumors that Lou Lamoriello may join the New York Islanders just received an official endorsement, but fans want current GM Garth Snow out, and there’s only one way to ditch the long-tenured executive.Would you rather lose John Tavares in free agency and subsequently Garth Snow, or keep both and see if Snow can finally pull it all off before the captain retires?
For a fanbase whose demand for change reached an all-time high with the current regime this past season, this has been an uncomfortable idea to wrestle with. Firstly, aside from hearing official dialogue that Lou Lamoriello is (in some way) discussing the idea of joining the New York Islanders, there is little on the horizon in terms of a personnel shakeup.
Lamoriello may be on his way here, but don’t get the idea that it changes too much. Between the possibility of hiring Lamoriello and doing nothing, it’s a favorable outcome for both parties. Given that both Snow and Lamoriello have a history (per Arthur Staple of The Athletic), it’s a feasible move that can be made to bring some sort of new input into an office that desperately needs one.
With the way things have gone since last month’s media day, all signs point to Snow sticking around in the organization, for better or for worse. That is unless he fails to sign John Tavares. The longer things continue to stall on both sides, the less of a chance there is to get the deed done and re-sign him.
So, the Islanders as an organization have arrived at yet another crossroad: either keep trying to win with both Snow and Tavares or, lose Tavares and Snow as a result and start fresh with a crop of talent that contains this year’s likely Calder-winner.
Since 2009, Tavares has been the face of the Islanders and was right in line to be named captain in 2014. His first playoff series with the team came four years into his career on the Island and his first playoff series win came in his seventh season — a woeful resume when you compare what superstars such as Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have done in their first few years in the NHL.
Point being, Tavares has time to take a hard look around him and see where his peers have wound up at his point in their careers — and he has every right to feel he could have achieved more. One playoff series win in the seven years the Isles had to build around him isn’t embarrassing, it’s an outright waste.
In the modern NHL, and through examples set by team’s like Lamoriello’s Maple Leafs, it doesn’t take long to rebuild at all anymore. Mike Babcock and Lamoriello were introduced as a package deal in 2015 and promised a whole heck of a lot of pain during the period of transition. Two years later, the Maple Leafs had bowed out to the Washington Capitals in six hard-fought games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
More pertinently, the success of the Vegas Golden Knights has thwarted every expectation beset upon them at the beginning of the season. The Golden Knights, who again, are battling in the Western Conference Finals in their first year of existence, are helmed by GM George McPhee — who spent one season as an Islander executive before taking his job with Vegas in the 2016 offseason.
In the 12 years, Snow helmed the Islanders, his resume and track record is simply bone-dry compared to the success of his peers. There aren’t any more excuses, and the Isles can’t afford to let the same mistake repeat itself if they want to become successful in eventually winning a championship.
None of this is news to Isles fans, but seeing it on paper is far less reassuring and drives home more and more that some kind of a shakeup is desperately needed.
As the days keep ticking away, an ultimatum approaches on the horizon and an internal debate within the Isles fanbase continues to rise to a feverish pitch. Would you eat the loss of losing Tavares in free agency in order to get rid of Garth Snow?
"Would you let John Tavares walk in Free Agency if it meant completely moving on from Garth Snow?" #Isles @mdigiacESNY
— Elite Sports NY (@EliteSportsNY) May 14, 2018