The NHL trade deadline has passed and you’d be hard pressed to find a favourable review of Garth Snow’s performance.
The New York Islanders general manager sent Thomas Vanek and a conditional fifth-rounder in 2014 to the Montreal Canadiens for a conditional second-round pick and prospect Sebastian Collberg. If the Canadiens misses the playoffs, no draft picks will be exchanged.
Snow was ripped by hockey fans for what he got in return for Vanek.
“We were looking at a first-round pick and a prospect [for Vanek],” Snow told Hockey Central at Noon on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Thursday. “We took a different route, realizing the first-round pick wasn’t going to come to fruition.”
Despite not getting the coveted first-rounder, Snow wasn’t disappointed in the trade to acquire Collberg. Snow describes the 20-year-old Swede, drafted 33rd overall by the Habs in 2012, as a fast skater with great vision, good hands and a really quick release.
“In 2012 we had him rated 22nd on our scouting list,” Snow said. “He has all the tools to be a second liner.”
Vanek was expected to be a hot commodity Wednesday, but Snow explained that he didn’t receive any offers for the Austrian winger until mere hours before the 3 p.m. EST deadline.
“Our situation was more of a wait and see by other teams,” explained Snow, who added he had conversations with several clubs regarding Vanek. “Really, we didn’t get any offer on Thomas until probably after noon.”
Wednesday’s move comes just five months after Snow added Vanek from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for Matt Moulson, plus first- and second-round picks—another deal that questioned since it was widely believed Vanek planned on testing his value on the free agent market after the season.
“We made that deal to improve our club and I think when you watch the chemistry with Thomas, John [Tavares] and Kyle Okposo it was one of the most productive lines in the NHL,” Snow said. “We felt once we had Thomas in and around our group he would think a little bit differently about re-signing.”
Snow added that the Islanders weren’t looking to re-sign Moulson, who also is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, which is another reason they took a risk acquiring another pending free agent.
“A the end of the day we thought we got a player that could make our team better,” Snow said.
According to Snow, the two draft picks involved in the Moulson deal were assets he felt the team could recover at the trade deadline if they were unable to re-sign Vanek.
“We took a shot at improving our club and I would never not look at making a move to improve our club moving forward,” Snow said.
Since becoming the Islanders GM in 2006, criticism has been a constant for Snow. In addition to the two Vanek deals, many of Snow’s decisions have received backlash from Islanders fans.
Here are a few moves Snow has made over the years that raised some eyebrows:
— In 2006, in one of his first moves as the team’s GM, Snow signed Rick DiPietro to a 15-year, $67.5-million contract. That deal is considered one of the worst in modern NHL history.
— At the 2007 trade deadline, Snow traded Robert Nilsson, Ryan O`Marra and a first-round pick to the Edmonton Oilers for Ryan Smyth, who only ended up playing 18 games for the franchise.
— A day prior to acquiring Smyth, Snow sent a second-round pick to the Washington Capitals for Richard Zednik, who only played 10 games with the Islanders.
— In February 2013, Snow traded a conditional second-round pick to the Boston Bruins for Tim Thomas even though Thomas was sitting out the season due to personal reasons. Thomas never ended up playing with the Islanders. Although they didn’t have to give up the pick, the move helped the team get to the cap floor.
The Islanders have made the playoffs just twice in the seven seasons Snow has been GM of the club. New York has finished last in the Atlantic Division for five consecutive seasons between 2007 and 2012.
Under his management, the Islanders are 255-291-83.