With the NHL regular season coming to an end, the New York Islanders missed out on an opportunity to make the playoffs in three consecutive seasons for the first time since 2003-2004. Speaking of the 03-04 hockey season, the Toronto Maple Leafs, responsible for snagging that last wild card spot from New York, qualified for the playoffs for the first time in an 82 game regular season since that exact year.
It is quite a disappointment that the Islanders missed out on the post-season by just a single point. They finished with 94 total points, in a campaign that included in a handful of late game breakdowns. That being said, if these leads were not blown, the Islanders would be giving it one more chance at a playoff run and allow John Tavares to showcase his magic once returning from injury.
Now, all Islanders fans can do now is think about next season and the promising potential of full year of Tavares and Josh Ho-Sang. All of which leads right back to the General Manager of the team, Garth Snow.
Fans entered the this season indecisive on what to think about the team. In April of 2016, after a successful first year in Brooklyn, the Islanders were ousted in the playoffs by the Tampa Bay Lightning. That was followed with a summer of ownership change and new faces in the locker room. 64 point scorer Kyle Okposo was not brought back for this season, as well as Frans Nielsen and Matt Martin. They were essentially replaced by 37 year old veteran Jason Chimera and Andrew Ladd. Ladd was slotted in on the top line, but failed to develop chemistry with his line-mates.
Tavares is a top five player in the league, as well as the face of the franchise. With Tavares’ contract up at the end of the 2017-18 season, rumors swirl that he will consider signing elsewhere. The former number one overall pick has expressed his desire to stay. However, Snow did not accompany him with a scoring winger by his side. This could arguable frustrate Tavares.
Tavares did say there's a lot that goes into his decision, "probably a lot more than people are aware of."
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) April 10, 2017
His failures to assemble the necessary tools needed results in one of the many reasons the Islanders will be watching the playoffs from their couches.
This past February at the trade deadline, talk around the league was that Joe Sakic, GM of the Colorado Avalanche, was shopping center Matt Duchene. Duchene, selected two spots after Tavares in the 2009 entry draft, was the piece the team needed.
After negotiating with Sakic for days, a deal could not get done. A circumstance which will haunt this team for a while. Tavares is not getting any younger, and the time to win would have been now. Snow followed up being frugal at the deadline by finally calling up Ho-Sang. However, this move should have been executed sooner. Ho-Sang gave this team a late-season spark with his flashy play.
The failure to go all-in and pull the trigger at the trade deadline. Hesitating to fire head coach Jack Capuano when this team was at one point last in the eastern conference. Waiting too long to call up Ho-Sang and goaltender Jaro Halak. Also, never bringing up defenseman Ryan Pulock, who was essential in last year’s series victory against Florida. These are just a few reasons why the former Islander goalie turned GM should be dismissed.
With the changes suggested, the Islanders could be facing off this week against Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals. However, Snow failed to execute when the moment was right. Ultimately, the Islanders front office has some decisions to make this off season. One of which is the questionable future of their GM.
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