On May 18th 2015, New York Islanders general manager Garth Snow sat down with the members of the Islanders Booster Club for a little Q & A session. The mood was light, the atmosphere was calm, and it felt like a family reunion with no yelling, screaming, or anything else that would ruin the occasion. Despite the early first round exit, the Islanders did record their first +100 point season in 30 years, so there wasn’t much to nit pick about. I’m not going to run down the whole meeting because you should be a member of the booster club to get the full experience, but I will give Islanders fans a small glimpse as to what Snow has planned for this offseason. Fair warning, it may not be much.
Just a few ice chips:
Matt Donovan is now an unrestricted free agent and will be looking to play for another team
If any of you want the Islanders to come back to Long Island after the Coliseum is refurbished, I wouldn’t hold your breathe. As of this writing, the renovated Coliseum will have roughly 13,000 seats and keep the same amount of luxury suites, while the Barclays Center has over 100 suites. Big difference.
My colleague Paige was interested in the signing of Anders Lee and Garth stated that he had a great year and that the Islanders hold his rights as he is an RFA but Lee has arbitration rights. Of course Snow’s goal is to sign Lee.
Snow went on to discuss the off season and stated that there aren’t a lot of positions to fill and the amount of depth is currently good. The opportunity must present itself, like Leddy and Boychuk last year and if it upgrades the team, a move will be made but he will not mortgage the future for a quick fix. For now same team, same players.
For those looking in the free agency for a left winger next to John Tavares or that top 4 defenseman, may have to be content with (I’ll say for now) Josh Bailey/Anders Lee and a possible promotion of one of the younger defenseman in Reinhart, Pulock or Mayfield. The reason being is that he stated that in two years, the Islanders will have decisions to make with players due to the salary cap. They’re close to the ceiling in another year and signing another big salary would be a hinder at this point. The Islanders currently sit roughly 14 million under the ceiling with a slew (definition of slew is over 7) of players that need to be signed over the next two years.
I did not ask Garth about the backup goalie situation because I knew I would probably get the old “It’s only May” answer, to which he would be correct, but you can also put this in the above paragraph. That process would not surprise me if it went to training camp.
I did ask Garth if he had planned on acquiring more picks in this years draft and he did say that if there was a player on their list they really wanted, he would not hesitate to trade the Isles two third rounder’s for a possible mid second round and draft that player. Still too early to tell but the impression he gave us was he’s not going to trade players for the sake of getting a draft pick.
As far as Lubomir Visnovsky goes……in my opinion “anything is possible.” See Radek Martinek.
The special teams, Brian Strait, Matt Moulson, Dan Boyle, Michael Grabner, Travis Hamonic, 3 on 3, the playoff officiating, the Yes, Yes, Yes chant between the players and fans and finally the kid line were all topics that were also brought up at the meeting, but you had to be there to get those responses.
In my opinion, here’s what fans need to be worried about for this off season: Anders Lee, the rise/fall of the salary cap (which is a first) and probably the backup goaltending. When Lee signs or arbitration concludes, then the Islanders could make some moves if the situation arises. The defensive matchups may in fact be determined at training camp because the younger talent need to show what they have. For now, enjoy the rest of the playoffs because not much will be told of any kind of rumors until someone takes home the Stanley Cup. A big thank you to Garth Snow, the Islanders and the Booster club for a great night. Well worth the two hour trip to spend time with my other family.