Since taking over the Islanders in the summer of 2006 Garth Snows Islanders have only finished outside the bottom 5 in the NHL once and that was in his first year when they made the playoffs.
Following a first round ouster in that season the Islanders decided they would undergo a full blown rebuild to replenish their minor league system which was depleted by Snows predecessor Mike Milbury. Over the last 3 drafts the Islanders have done a good job at replenishing their system by acquiring a ton of draft picks for the June amateur draft as well as signing some college free agents as well. They've done such a good job in the last three drafts that at last look THN says we have a top 15 system in the NHL. If you would've told someone 4 years ago that in 4 years the isles would be in the upper half of the league when it comes to farm system they would've said that you were out of your mind. Garth has shown that he is also shrewd when it comes to negotiating contracts as well. Locking up bargain basement deals with players like Frans Nielsen and Andrew MacDonald. Also locking up players like Matt Moulson, Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner to very favorable deals as well.
While everything mentioned above is good, the team in a results oriented business has been among the worst teams in the league over the past few seasons. Snow hasn't shown the ability to be able to use trades or free agency to noticeably improve the team outside of his trade for James Wisniewski last summer. Usually over the summer the arena is blamed for the lack of action we see with regard to our beloved Islanders. However, if you remember Chris Bottas interview with Gord Miller of TSN our owner Charles B. Wang doesn't have the most favorable image around the league, according to him many see us as a circus type atmosphere. One has to wonder if that perception around the league has just as big if not bigger impact as the arena does on our ability to draw free agents. Its understood that the team is rebuilding however rebuilding isn't throwing a team of kids to the wolves every night. Although he has gotten better with that in getting some vet. help for the defense they could still use help. In a rebuild veterans have to be bought in, in order to help supplement the kids and have the kids not feel like the whole onus of the teams success rides on their play. To this point outside of some as BD Gallof said on twitter, "band aids" on defense they really haven't done that, for the rebuild to take the next step that has to be done otherwise I fear we will always say what could've been and not what is.
This should be a very interesting summer on Long Island!!!!!
Quick Note: Yesterday Swedish goalie Anders Nilsson signed his entry level deal. There was some speculation that after having such a good season in the SEL last year which is Swedens top league that Nilsson maybe a tough sign but seeing him sign is really good to see and only increases our depth at goalie and after this season going through 6 goalies you can never have enough!