This season was a successful one for the New York Islanders; which was timely for Islanders general manager Garth Snow and head coach Jack Capuano. Reason being, Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky have officially taken over as owners of the franchise. The Islanders ended their streak of 23 years without winning a playoff series. However, New York needs to take a big step forward this season, otherwise the Islanders will be in the market for a new general manager and head coach at season’s end. This is a critical time for the Islanders top brass.
OFF-SEASON GAME PLAN: New York Islanders – Under New Ownership; @tsnscottcullen with more. https://t.co/RyBIfrjOaj pic.twitter.com/dVA8id9LLZ
— TSN Hockey (@TSNHockey) June 8, 2016
Most hockey experts feel the Islanders recent gains and losses to their roster have the team at the same level. In are Andrew Ladd, Jason Chimera and P.A. Parenteau. Gone are Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin.
New York gained leadership, locker room presence and players who will go to the net with these moves. However, unless some of the young Islanders take a big leap forward this season the Islanders still remain behind the big Eastern Conference teams like the Penguins, Lightning and Capitals. The young Islanders who could help this team make huge strides next season are Brock Nelson, Ryan Strome, Mathew Barzal and Michael Dal Colle.
This is a critical summer for the Isles GM. Snow must find a way to land a proven top six forward. By many accounts there are number of teams willing to move a top six forward. Some due to the salary cap, others because they need a defenseman and certain teams because they want to change the mix in their organization.
Making an impact trade in today’s NHL is not easy. Having said that, Garth Snow has to succeed. Cap space will not be an issue and the Islanders organization has plenty of depth talent. This is the most critical time in Garth Snow’s ten year tenure as GM of the Islanders.
ICYMI: #Isles overhaul roster; are they better? That's a question GM Garth Snow has to figure out in next 2 months. https://t.co/pn5NCdqCLF
— Brett Cyrgalis (@BrettCyrgalis) July 4, 2016
Right GM & Coach?
There is no doubt both Garth Snow and head coach Jack Capuano have accomplished a lot during their time with the Islanders. When Snow took over as the Isles GM the cupboard was bare. While it took time the Islanders have gone from one of the worst teams in the league to being a step away from being one of the upper echelon franchises.
Also during his time Snow has done a strong job of drafting, finding players (waiver wire & nondescript free agents), as well as managing and using the salary cap as an asset.
Believe it or not, Jack Capuano is now second all-time in Islanders history in wins by a head coach. Only the legendary Al Arbour has won more games behind the Islanders bench. Capuano has also done a good job of developing some of the team’s young players and holding everyone accountable.
Having said all of that, if the Islanders do not take a big step forward this season, it’s fair to say that the organization does not have the right GM and head coach to become a contender for the Stanley Cup. Given the level of talent and maneuverability this franchise currently has they should be a contender for the next few years. If Snow and Capuano can’t get the job done next season, then the new ownership group has to find a duo that can.