When Lou Lamoreillo was brought to the Islanders, it was clear that he was going to shake things up. And he did just that when he fired Garth Snow and made himself the new GM. Now we all know the reasons why Garth was let go, but lets go in depth to why our former GM of 12 years was shown the door.
1. Minimal Success
This reason makes me question why this man was the GM for this long. Over the course of his 12 years as GM, the Islanders made the playoffs only four times. Three of them were first round exits, and one was an early second round exit. The other eight years, the team was at the basement of the entire NHL. Snow made so many errors to follow up on seasons following a playoff appearance. For example, after the 2006-2007 season, which saw the Islanders lose in the first round of the playoffs against the Buffalo Sabres, Snow thought veteran leadership and scoring on the top line was needed. So what did he do; he signed Bill Guerin in hopes that he would lead the team in goals. He did with a whopping 23. The following year, Snow brought in old man Doug Weight. He scored just 13 goals in three seasons. Guerin was eventually traded and won a Stanley Cup, and we know what happened to Doug Weight.
Did it ever occur to anyone that Garth Snow always seemed to be fine with a team that could be a playoff contender, and not a Stanley Cup contender? A perfect example is the 2015-2016 off-season. The Islanders were somewhat relevant, they were moving to Brooklyn, they just lost a close seven game series to the Capitals, John Tavares should have been the MVP, and we had an all-star goalie in Jaroslav Halak. So what big move is the GM going to make? These big moves were Thomas Greiss and Steve Bernier. Did anyone say “Who”? That season, The Islanders barely made it past the first round. Garth Snow was always alright with the team just being a Playoff team. When you go into your season ending press conference saying “I believe we are a playoff team”, is not good enough. If you are saying this, you do not deserve to run a hockey team. I mean in all honesty, the Coyotes think they are a playoff team too.
3. Horrible 2016-2017 off-season
Where do I start with this one? Obviously, we know that the team just had it biggest success since 1993, making it to round two of the playoffs. So shouldn’t Snow be making additions? He does the exact opposite and makes subtractions. Although terrible now, Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, and Matt Martin were key parts of the Islanders and were original players that grew within the organization. They all left in that summer and Garth Snow replaced them with Andrew Ladd, Jason Chimera and PA Parenteau. Snow replaced an original player with Ladd, a guy with lots of NHL mileage, and was already starting to show signs of decline. Ladd was signed for 5.5 million dollars and looks completely cooked after scoring just 29 points this past season. Jason Chimera could not even buy a goal with his 2.25 million dollar salary this past season, and was traded. PA Parenteau, which actually was a good signing, was supposed to re-kindle the fire with John Tavares. After one pre-season game playing with the captain, he was put on waivers; before the season even started. This one hurts me the most because he was my favorite player, and was forced to retire because he bounced around too much. PA was coming off a 20 goal season when the Islanders signed him. That man should still be playing in the NHL. Snow put PA on waivers to make room for Anthony Beauvillier, who looked like a lost dog in that season. He was so bad that I did not think he would make the team last season (but he did prove me wrong, thanks to Mat Barzal). The 2016-2017 off-season is a major season why the Islanders have not been in the Playoffs in two years.
4. Trade Deadline Moves
The final, and ultimate reason why Garth Snow was so hated, was that he barely did anything at the Trade Deadline to improve the team. In 2007, Snow was able to acquire Ryan Smyth when any of the other contending playoff teams could have gotten him because he wanted to win a cup. That trade left the team paying his mega-salary to lose in the first round. Another deadline that Snow failed in was in 2015. The Islanders made two additions. Tyler Kennedy was acquired, and was scratched in the playoffs. Snow also traded Chad Johnson for Michal Neuvirth, which was like breaking your phone, only to get a new one and break that one as well. The Islanders went from second in the division to third, and lost in the first round. In 2016, the Islanders were one or two pieces away from being a Stanley Cup contender. So Snow went out and traded for Shane Prince. I don’t know about you guys, but I had to look up who this guy was when we got him. In 2017, we needed a goal scorer. Matt Duchene, Jordan Eberle were up for grabs, Jaroslav Halak was unwanted and teams wanted him. Were any moves made? Not a single move was made at that deadline and the Islanders missed the playoffs by one point. And finally in 2018, Snow thought the team could get over the hump by acquiring two guys who were on waivers at one point. This defines mediocrity.
I am not going to credit Garth Snow for any good things the organization has done in his tenure. Do you want me to credit him for drafting John Tavares? A toddler could have told you to do that. He botched the Thomas Vanek trade, and relied on waiver claims to help the team when times were bad. After so many waivers claims, you are going to get a few like Matt Moulson, and Michael Grabner that pan out. Now look where those two are now? The definition of mediocrity was and always will be Garth Snow.