Odd Man Rush: Snow under pressure to improve Isles quickly


The Sports Network

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The moves that New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow has made this offseason are just as much about 2015 as they are about this upcoming season.

More than a few thought the Islanders made a mistake in opting to keep their 2014 draft pick and instead send their selection in next year's draft to the Buffalo Sabres to complete October's trade for Thomas Vanek.

Vanek, by the way, recently wrapped his season as a member of the playoff- participating Montreal Canadiens after the Islanders were forced to deal the winger to try to recoup some of the loss when it became apparent they were not going to the postseason.

In keeping his upcoming selection, Snow knows he will be picking fifth overall and will most likely be getting a talented player who can help in the future. Had he chosen to keep his 2015 pick, Snow would not have had any idea where he was picking in what is expected to be a deep draft headlined by a pair of top selections in Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel.

Obviously, Snow has to think his team will improve into a later pick in 2015 or else he isn't doing his job.

Snow can take this gamble because of the pending return of captain John Tavares, who had notched 24 goals and 42 points in 59 games before suffering a season-ending left knee injury in February while playing for Canada in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Tavares helped the Islanders snap a five-season playoff drought in 2013, but New York was last in the newly-formed Metropolitan Division heading into the Olympic break and already 12 points out of a wild card spot.

In other words, Tavares needs help and Long Island isn't the most attractive option for free agents right now. That could change when the club relocates to Brooklyn for the 2015-16 season, but Snow has had to get creative.

He has done so through trades designed to get a jump on free agency, acquiring the rights of goaltender Jaroslav Halak from the Washington Capitals back on May 1 and then doing the same for veteran defenseman Dan Boyle from the San Jose Sharks on Thursday.

Halak has already forgone free agency, inking a four-year deal with the Islanders on May 22 to stabilize that important position, while New York now has exclusive negotiating rights with Boyle up until free agency on July 1.

Should they sign the 37-year-old, it will cost the Islanders a fourth-round pick heading the Sharks' way. If they do not sign him, a fifth-round selection is the cost of the gamble.

"We don't know what the future brings with Dan, but we wanted to get that exclusive negotiating window with him," Snow told Newsday. "He's a defenseman we think can help our team."

Several New York-based newspapers cited Boyle's agent as saying his client is looking for a two-year deal and according to capgeek.com, Snow has nearly $28 million of cap space to play with, so signing Boyle shouldn't be a problem.

And it is a move Snow needs to make. The Islanders are deep with defensive prospects and having a veteran like Boyle around for two years -- heck, he might even be worth three at the right price -- would be invaluable for the team's future.

That's the path Snow has decided to take in getting both Halak and Boyle while opting to part ways with a future draft pick. Signing Boyle would be sticking that plan.

Read more Hockey Wires stories from the Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category