The New York Islanders swept out the trash today in Uniondale Long Island as new team President Lou Lamoriello relieved both General Manager Garth Snow and Head Coach Doug Weight of their respective duties.
Both men will remain in the organization in other capacities.
The long time Devils GM and architect will take over the General Manager duties himself while rumor has it former Maple Leafs assistant Coach D.J. Smith will be named new Isles Head Coach later this week.
Garth Snow has survived many years at the helm of the Islanders with little results. He took over in the summer of 2006, fresh off retiring as a player. The move was a head scratcher from the beginning as former owner Charles Wang bucked convention and went with the fiery Snow despite having a proven GM already in tow with Neil Smith. Smith was fired after only a Few weeks on the job. The whole ordeal was like something out of the Twilight Zone.
In 2016 the team did advance to the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but that was the first time since 1993 that the team advanced passed the first round. They missed the playoffs far more than made them, and his tenure was a mediocre to poor one and most fans have been clamoring for Snow to go for years now.
Doug Weight had just finished his first full year as Head Coach after taking over for Jack Capuano midway through the 2016-17 season. His style never fully seemed to mesh with his players and rumored tensions with star impending unrestricted free agent John Tavares didn’t help his cause.
Resinging Tavares is the A #1 priority for Lamoriello now. JT has talked a good game but as it gets closer and closer to July 1, the likelihood of him testing the waters on the open market becomes that much greater. The Islanders must sign Tavares, not just because he is a superstar and the face of the franchise, but because it would not continue the long standing trend of when big ticket free agents of the Isles get their shot at free agency, they almost always leave to go to greener pastures.
The rebuilding Islanders desperately need to keep him. It seems that was why Lamoriello was brought in all along. Team President was one thing, but evaluating talent as a General Manager is where Lou has always shined. The switch with him in for Snow is a good sign to other potential free agents as well as to Tavares that the Islanders finally have a proven hockey man as their talent evaluator now. And a man who has won Stanley Cups and accepts nothing but the best from his players and coaches.