New York Islanders are Reportedly Interested in Adding a President of Hockey Operations to Boost the Front Office and Give GM Garth Snow a Second Hand in Making Decisions
Reports surfaced on Friday night suggesting the New York Islanders may have interest in bolstering their front-office. Newsday’s Arthur Staple announced that new ownership might be looking to add a president of hockey operations. Garth Snow currently holds both titles (GM/president of hockey operations).
It sounds as though Garth Snow is safe as General Manager. So too is head coach Jack Capuano. The potential addition would follow in the same footsteps as several other clubs in recent years. The Calgary Flames hired Brian Burke in the same capacity, and the Toronto Maple Leafs did the same thing with Brendan Shanahan.
Front-Office Addition Makes Sense
I’m sure some folks are wondering why the New York Islanders don’t move on from GM Garth Snow altogether. Truthfully, that might do more damage than anything. The clock is ticking to get captain John Tavares signed to a long-term deal, so any significant step back organizationally could be detrimental to those negotiations. Plus, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a team to fire a quality GM if there’s not a better option in sight.
With all that being said, it’s by no means a vote of confidence for Garth Snow. Despite making a number of great moves over his tenure, the ultimate goal was always a deep playoff run. The Isles looked poised to reach their goal and be the next up-and-coming team for a few years, but they’ve since taken a step back in 2016-17.
The New York Islanders have reportedly reached out to a pair of former NHL players. The first, Pat LaFontaine, is a very familiar face that both played for the organization and held a brief front-office role as senior advisor. The other, Brad Richards, is more recently retired with no former ties to the club.
LaFontaine a Perfect Fit
Pat LaFontaine spent eight years playing for the New York Islanders between 1983-84 and 1990-91. He accumulated 287 goals, 279 assists (566 points) in 530 games with the club before joining the Buffalo Sabres. Health became a major concern over the next seven years, which ultimately cut his NHL career way too short following the 1997-98 season. With 1013 points in 865 games, one has to wonder what could have been.
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It’s not a knock on Brad Richards, but he offers absolutely no experience in a front-office role. Typically, that wouldn’t be an issue for most clubs, but there’s a desperate need to get this decision right.
Given LaFontaine’s involvement behind the scenes since his early retirement, the 51-year-old is more than qualified to step in and lend a hand in important decisions to help get the Isles back on track.
Most recently, Pat was at the center of discussions in a meeting with all the major hockey leagues around North America. They talked about the possibility of increasing the draft age to 19 (with occasional 18-year-old exceptional status payers) and looked at ways to create a better system for development in Canada/USA – Pat LaFontaine’s idea is a merged Memorial Cup that might feature the winner from all three Canadian league and the USHL.
Point being, if you can add a brilliant hockey mind such as Pat to your front-office staff to help aid in decisions alongside Garth Snow, you do it. This is a no-brainer and exactly what the New York Islanders need to get the ship steered in the right direction.