A report by Newsday’s Andrew Gross on Monday afternoon just moments before New York Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky spoke to the media revealed that general manager Garth Snow and head coach Doug Weight “have been led to believe” that they will be returning to the team next season despite their worst finish in four years.
Ledecky later admitted that he will be reviewing the team’s hockey operations this offseason.
“We are committed to long-term success,” Ledecky said (h/t Arthur Staple). “We will be evaluating our hockey operations and then determine the path forward… As owners, we have failed.”
He refused to take questions on particular players or members of the coaching staff.
Throughout the second half of the 2017-18 season, both Snow and Weight looked to be on the hot seat after the Islanders’ swoon during the final stretch of the season.
Snow has held the GM position since the summer of 2006 and has continuously ignored the needs of his team, especially at the trade deadline, thus withholding them from becoming legitimate contenders. He’s only made one major move of note, acquiring Ryan Smyth for a stretch playoff run at the end of the 2006-07 season.
At this year’s Feb. 26 trade deadline, Snow once again was unable to make any kind of deal that would improve his team which sat just two points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
The team was in desperate need of defense, sporting the league’s worst unit that heaped tons of pressure squarely on the shoulders of the Islanders offense, which was one of the NHL’s best attacks for a majority of the season. While there were upgrades available on the market, Snow only brought in unproven defenseman Brandon Davidson and winger Chris Wagner, which did nothing to help the team’s chances of playing deep into the spring.
His inaction came amongst an Islanders eight-game losing streak, one that would doom him and the team to another playoff-less year, the eighth time in his 12 seasons as general manager.
In the meantime, Weight did not show the slightest inkling of making any sort of legitimate adjustments that could help limit the damage.
Good coaches find ways to limit losing streaks and pick up points in unlikely situations. Instead, New York’s head coach proved that the pressure of underachieving was too much for him to bear.
After going 24-12-4 (52 points) in his 40 games as interim head coach after Jack Capuano was fired last year, Weight went just 35-37-10, playing a dangerous brand of hockey that put too much reliance on a bad defense. When it came time to shuffle up his roster in hopes of sparking a change, it was already too late for the team’s playoff hopes.
It’s one thing if these are the two preferred men that star captain John Tavares wants to work with in the future. The soon-to-be free agent’s departure would likely set the franchise back at least five years. If he wishes to negotiate a new contract with Snow and wants Weight as his head coach, Ledecky would have likely felt obligated to keep them on for at least another year.
But if their retention is coming from sheer ignorance from ownership, Ledecky will see his stock plummet from franchise savior just a few months ago, to villain heading into one of the Islanders’ most important summers ever.