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Published on March 19th, 2014 | by Pete Truszkowski


Is Isles Whole Rebuild A Lie?

Here we are, set to enter off-season number 7 of Garth Snow’s rebuild and the burning question on my mind is: Is this whole Islanders rebuild thing just one big lie?

At this point, it’s apparent to me that might just be the cold hard truth.

Garth Snow took over the team in July of 2006. The Islanders made the playoffs in 2006-07, with a team built mainly by Neil Smith and Mike Milbury. The Isles had a 5 game appearance in the playoffs, lost key members to their team that summer and that is how the rebuild started. In 2014, that same rebuild is still in progress. Other than a playoff appearance as an 8 seed last year in a shortened season, there has been minimal progress in terms of on-ice results for the Islanders these past 7 years.

Let’s recap: In 2008, the Islanders finished 26th. In 2009, the Isles finished in last place in the whole NHL. In 2010, the Isles Garth+Snow+New+York+Islanders+Captain+Doug+Rz3eDg5cEHplfinished 26th again. in 2011 and 2012, they finished in 27th place. In 2013, the outlier, the Isles finished 16th. This year, the Isles currently find themselves in 27th place, just two points ahead of 29th with 12 games to go.

The truth hurts; the New York Islanders are not playing better than they were when this rebuild commenced in 2008. 7 seasons later, that’s just unfathomable and quite honestly, unexplainable for a team that is actually fully committed to rebuilding a hockey organization the right way.

Unfortunately for us, it appears the Islanders are not fully committed to icing a winner and therefore this rebuild has stalled and shows no real immediate promise.

Why do you say this? How could this be true? All I’ve been hearing from the management and media and fans is “rebuild.” It has to be true, right?

According to Capgeek.com, the Islanders are 29th in the 30 team NHL in terms of payroll. They spend less than a million more than 30th place Florida does, however, Florida recently underwent a change in ownership so expect things to change there. Since 2008, the New York Islanders are the only team to be in the bottom 5 of spending every year. The New York Islanders do not spend money, it’s simple. They are a cap floor operation.

It is ridiculously hard for any team in professional sports to win without spending money. Look at the last few cup winning teams; Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Detroit, Pittsburgh. What do all of these teams have in common? They spend money and are committed to icing a high salaried, highly competitive roster every season. Unfortunately we cannot say the same thing about our Islanders.

All hope is not lost though! The Colorado Avalanche, yes, the Colorado Avalanche that are 4th in the Western Conference right now are right ahead of the Islanders in terms of spending. They spend barely a million more than our Isles! Unfortunately, the Avalanche do a couple of things much differently and better than the Islanders.

Colorado has been able to draft much better than the Islanders, nabbing names like Duchene, Landeskog, O’Reilly and MacKinnon, all 4 of which have turned into high impact NHL players already. Outside of Okposo, who wasn’t drafted by Snow, the only drafted forward by the Isles currently making an impact in the NHL is Tavares. Strome, Nelson and Lee may have potential but they are not close to the level of a Landeskog or MacKinnon yet.

The Islanders only have 9 full-time scouts. Most other NHL teams have in the high teens. For a team that is supposed to be built through the draft, cutting costs at the scouting level is just beyond comprehension. If the rebuild was that serious, wouldn’t Wang and the Isles spend more money on scouts ensuring more eyes get on these players which will result in a more informed opinion? Maybe that’s why teams like Colorado are where they are, and we are where we are.

Colorado also shows a desire to bring in outside talent to help supplement their youngsters, whether it be via trade (Varlamov, Tanguay, Erik Johnson, Talbot) or free agency (Parenteau, Hejda). The Islanders only really have Lubomir Visnovsky, Cal Clutterbuck and a decomposing Evgeni Nabokov of this variety on their roster.

0923Parenteau2Colorado also has a legitimate NHL coach in Patrick Roy. The Islanders have Jack Capuano. Enough said. If you’re not going to spend a lot of money, you have to get the most out of your guys. The Avs get that, the Isles don’t. Jack Capuano is the lowest paid coach in the NHL right now. It’s no surprise that players like Grabner, Bailey, Hamonic, Cizikas, and Martin have stalled in their development. A real NHL coach puts these guys in a position to succeed and teaches them on and off the ice what it takes to be successful at this level. Instead, the Isles have the lowest paid coach in the league. You get what you pay for.

The latest lockout actually helped the Isles out big time, unless you are Charles Wang, that is. Up until that point, all bonuses counted against the salary cap. Therefore, those unreachable rookie bonuses would help you rise above the cap floor. That’s why you saw the likes of Steve Staios and Jay Pandolfo signed to those bonus-laden contracts. It gave them high cap hits, but a much lower number in terms of salary they’d actually see. This is also why Nino Niederreiter spent the whole 2011-12 season with the team, despite recording only 1 point. He carried a cap-hit near 3 million, meanwhile his actually salary was a little over $900,000. Under the new CBA, bonuses don’t help you reach the floor, which thankfully for us ensures more real money is spent on this team. Any little bit helps.

With the Isles spending little to no money on this team, there are plenty of other things to gripe about. For example, a big one is the lack of outside help bought in to help these young kids out. People will say, yeah, the salary should be low because we are going through a rebuild. That’s true to an extent, but leaving your young kids out to dry with a bare-bone operation is setting them up for failure. Like I said, there are few outside acquisitions on this team that the young players have to lean on. Currently, they have Visnovsky and Nabokov, plus non-every day players in Boulton and Carkner. At least last year they had the likes of Boyes, Streit and Reasoner, who, to an extent, knew what it took to have some success in this league. Right now, it’s the blind leading the blind.

Take for example, John Tavares. His wing position has been a revolving door almost his whole time on the Island. He’s played with the likes of Doug Weight, Richard Park, Trent Hunter, Matt Moulson, Blake Comeau, Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner, P.A. Parenteau, Josh Bailey, Brad Boyes, Pierre-Marc Bouchard, and Thomas Vanek already. Guess what? There is a gaping hole on his left side going into next year right now. In his early years with the Isles, Tavares mostly had Moulson and Parenteau on his wings. Therefore, instead of helping out the 20 year old Tavares by putting established NHL players that could help him develop better and quicker on his wings, the Islanders dragged him down by forcing him to turn these career minor-leaguers into first line NHL players. Granted, he did a good job of it but he should have never been in that position to begin with.

Don’t even get me started with Josh Bailey, who was rushed because the Islanders decided to go with Mike Comrie as their number one center and not fill their roster with legitimate NHL players. There’s Niederreiter who was here for solely cap reasons, as I said. Currently, Strome is on a line with Colin McDonald and Matt Martin because Snow wants to see Josh Bailey rack up those meaningless late season points, again. Matt Donovan this year, was expected to replace former captain and top 4 defenseman Mark Streit. The list goes on and on of young players who haven’t been given a real chance to succeed with this organization; something that could totally kill a rebuild.

It’s hard to say whether careers and seasons could have turned out differently for the likes of Josh Bailey if he was put on a line with someone like the present day Jaromir Jagr instead of Blake Comeau during his rookie year. Bailey was thrown to the wolves, instead of having someone who could take the pressure off him on his line. The same can be said for Matt Donovan this year. What if he had a solid defensive partner like Ron Hainsey or Hal Gill all year, instead of coming in and out of the line-up and getting a new partner every night. That’s why I find it imperative to sign someone who can play with Strome next year, but hey, history repeats itself. The rebuild and the development of young players is secondary to spending as little as possible.

Those that defend the rebuild, and specifically Garth Snow will point to the fact that he’s found some diamonds in the rough, led by Matt Moulson and P.A. Parenteau in addition to Grabner, Nabokov, and Hickey. For one, this team would still be in the exact same spot even if he never found those players. They were nice pieces on a team but they were far from the most impactful players on the roster.

A bigger issue has been the Isles lack of ability to retain their unrestricted free agents. Matt Moulson, Mark Streit, P.A. Parenteau, Andrew MacDonald and Thomas Vanek have all opted to test free agency, despite efforts from the Isles to sign them. What’s the point in bragging about finding these guys if they’re just going to walk the first chance they get. In Moulson, Vanek and Parenteau, the Isles lost their first line winger in all 3. In Streit and AMac, the Isles lost top 4 defensemen. These are not easily replaceable, no matter what Snow or Islanders bloggers tell you.

The Islanders replaced Parenteau with Brad Boyes originally, and then Pierre-Marc Bouchard. They downgraded originally, and then downgraded from the downgrade. Pierre-Marc Bouchard was traded for a 4th round draft pick after Kyle Okposo claimed a top line spot, but this now opens a spot on the 2nd line as well. Instead of investing in a sure-fire NHL top 6 player, the Islanders tried low-risk, high-reward signings and got away with it, barely the first time but got burned the second time.

As for Moulson and Vanek, they have yet to be replaced. There is a hope the Islanders bring in a top 6 player from outside the organization this summer, but Isles fans and bloggers have, unfortunately, already sprouted the idea that the red-hot Anders Lee can step in and replace Vanek on the top line next year. Not only is he not proven to be worthy of that role, that’s also immense pressure to put on a former 6th rounder in his first full NHL season. Unfortunately, it seems like something the Islanders would do so I’ve learned to expect the worst.

Mark Streit was replaced by Matt Donovan, who can not crack the top 6 over the likes of Matt Carkner and Kevin Czuczman the 07_17_12 Streit gallery 7_slidelast week or so and has been below the likes of Brian Strait on the depth chart all season. Safe to say it has been a colossal failure and the move depleted an already unsteady defensive corps. So to top it all off, the Islanders let Andrew MacDonald walk and are counting on another rookie in Griffin Reinhart to step in and replace him next year. What’s the definition of insanity?

When does this cycle of letting established NHL players walk to be replaced by youngsters end? Tell me why the Islanders can’t have Parenteau AND Moulson AND Okposo AND Lee in their forward group? Because that would entail spending money and showing a commitment to winning? Because Josh Bailey has an insane contract, guaranteeing him an every day roster spot in the top 6? Same thing goes for the defense, why can’t all of STREIT and MacDONALD and REINHART be in the line-up? Because our brilliant GM decided to sign two #6 defensemen in Hickey and Strait to long-term minimum salary contracts? It’s all about the money, it’s not about icing the best possible team. When does it end? Because until this whole recycling players and replacing them with prospects ends, the rebuild will continue.

I know Islanders fans will say that they lock-up the players that they want to keep and point to the Tavares, Okposo, Grabner, Bailey, Clutterbuck, Hamonic and Martin contracts. However, the big difference between those players and the players I mentioned is that all of these players were restricted free agents and had no negotiating rights. They were Isles property, no matter what. So what most of these players did was take longer “bridge” contracts for a bit more money, as this buys UFA years for the Isles before they have to actually play these players market value.

Evgeni Nabokov and Lubomir Visnovsky are exceptions, however these are two players that have families, are at the end of their career, and have nothing else to prove and are probably welcomed by the idea of continuity. The last name is Frans Nielsen, who has only known the Islanders and opted to sign an extension in 2012. However, that is still a low batting average in terms of resigning your players and it continues to show a lack of commitment to building a deep, winning team. It shows a commitment to spending as little money as possible.

The excuses the Islanders use are also beginning to get old. For years, we’ve heard the excuse that nobody wants to play at the Coliseum, and especially not for 41 nights a year. We also heard that not knowing where this team was playing after 2015 was a huge turn off. Now, the Islanders are moving to the state-of-the-art Barclays Center. They know they will be in Brooklyn until 2040; they aren’t going anywhere. So what’s the excuse now? We all know it’s a combination of two things; this team is cheap and it’s viewed as a circus from an outsider’s perspective. However, after last year, the Islanders had a chance to change that and they didn’t.

If the Islanders acted like a professional sports team this past summer, this article would have never been written. Instead, I’d be writing something about how the young players are turning this team into a perennial playoff team. The sad thing is, last year, for the first time, it was a damn near certainty Charles Wang made some money from this team. He received revenue sharing based on the new CBA. The Islanders played 3 playoff home games. They were playing in front of a packed barn the last month of the season. And what’d he do with that money? Pocket it.

There was a real concern after last year that the Isles were a fluke. Let’s be real, they had an awesome 15 game stretch during a half season. That equates to playing well for less than a quarter of a real NHL season. So instead of addressing this concern by shoring up the weaknesses of his team, instead Garth let his captain and top 4 defenseman walk, he let his top line winger walk, and Casey Cizikas, John McDonald, Kris Letanghe¬†bought back his aging decaying 38 year old goalie—-on a pay raise. He then signed two projects—they failed. There was no money invested in this team, when there should have been. It was time to take that next step. Instead, we are right back to where we were.

The only ray of hope that a lot of Isles fans have is the impeding move to Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Was this whole rebuild simply a measure to buy time until Brooklyn, where they will start acting like a professional sports organization? At this point, I’ll take it. However, I won’t get my hopes up. I’ve learned that the hard way with this organization; never get your hopes up. Case in point is last season.¬†A rebuild is a natural progression; from being really bad to get some solid draft picks, to squeezing into a playoff spot thanks to your young players. Once you get to that point, you bring in outside help, and with that combined with the natural progression of your players, you continue to improve. Instead, Garth Snow sat on his hands.

Actually, false, he traded one of his former first round draft picks, top 5, for a 3rd line grinder. What rebuilding team moves their 21 year old power forward after a near 30 goal campaign in the AHL? The Isles do. This one is on Garth completely, but it’s hard to take a rebuild seriously when 5th overall picks are being turned into Cal Clutterbuck; who I love.

Is Brooklyn guaranteed spending? Well, unless the Islanders are a cap ceiling team, it’s almost guaranteed revenue for Charles Wang as he gets money from the cable contract, the deal signed with the Barclays Center, national TV contracts in both the USA and Canada, as well as revenue sharing through the CBA. He is expected to be bringing in anywhere from 50-75 million a year, and that doesn’t include revenues from the team itself. Now, the real question is will Wang pocket that money or will he invest it back into the team? I don’t trust Wang at all, so I’ll believe it when I see it.

However, that ensures next season is all but lost, again. Wouldn’t it be smart to hit the ground running in Brooklyn? Wouldn’t it be smart to leave the Long Islanders on a positive note, ensuring they following you 20 miles west? Next year should be an important year, but it appears to be a throw away year, once again. 8th year of the rebuild, and we’re expecting nothing of significance.

Which begs the question: was this even a conventional rebuild? Or was it buying time until Brooklyn? Or even worse, is this Wang keep expenses as low as possible until he recovers money for a few years in Brooklyn and then sells?

One thing is for sure, right now, this rebuild is a colossal failure. If you can even call it a rebuild.

Until money is invested into this franchise, there is minuscule hope.

We’re still rebuilding. And we have been since 1993.

I’m entering my junior year of college in a few months and the Isles haven’t won a playoff series in my lifetime. Let that sink in.

Some classify this is a rebuild, I classify it as SnoWang’s biggest lie. Can you blame me?

About the Author

Pete Truszkowski

A 20 year old junior at SUNY Albany majoring in finance, Pete is the founder of Isles Nation. He's run the twitter account since January 2012 and the website since June 2013. His passion for this team is unmatched and he works hard to keep his followers informed and entertained. After all these years of pain and torture, I think I see a light at the end of the tunnel.

43 Responses to Is Isles Whole Rebuild A Lie?

  1. CC says:

    Fantastic article! Isles fan since 1980 here, and the organization has been an embarrassment for the last decade. Clearly Wang doesn’t care! Snow has had free reign to do his best to ruin the one proud and might Islanders.

  2. DC23 says:

    Great article. As you mention, the word ‘rebuild’ was code for, ‘we are not spending above the cap floor until our lease runs out at the NVMC’. The excuse that UFA’s wouldn’t sign with the Islanders because of the crappy arena was a smoke screen. Players don’t want to come here because the organization is run like a corner bagel store. When the $$ is the same or close, players want to go to a team that has a chance to win and is a first class operation; the Isles offer neither. Even though the Barclay’s Center lease guarantees the team will stay in NY for 25 years, it doesn’t guarantee anything else. Selfishly, the commute to the games will be much better, but this team belongs in Nassau County. Add in the fact that the arena, while great for hoops and concerts, is awful for hockey. I was at the exhibition game; the sight lines were poor and concourses small. I wont even get into the end of the arena where if you are sitting behind the net you cant see anything from the face off dots down.
    Keep up the good work Pete. As a 40 year fan I appreciate the effort and passion.

  3. Harry says:

    To the guy above me, the Barclay’s lease guarantees a set payment to the Islanders every year regardless of ticket sales, which can be good or bad. I’m not sure what happens if tix sales are stronger than expected (if Isles get more $ or not).

    I think you’re right about the rebuild as an excuse to waste time until an arena solution, but some of the comparisons you make are just rabble-rousing, for example, Colorado:

    Colorado doesn’t draft better, they managed to lose more in good draft years, Mackinnon, Duchene, and Landeskog were top 3 picks. Isles didnt’ suck enough to get those high picks. Strome, Nelson, and Lee won’t compare to Mackinnon or Landeskog because they are of completely different pedigrees of players. And what if the Isles hired a coach out of the QMJHL? Is that “real” coach or a “real name”? Capuano coached at a higher level for longer before the NHL. Colorado has taken a big step forward because they took a risk in trading a 1st round pick (12th overall – Filip Forsberg pick) for Varlamov (a move that got Greg Sherman essentially fired because it was seen as so risky and was widely panned at the time), but Varlamov s figured it out. If you clicked on COL’s capgeek page, you would see that their salary is increasing substantially next year, so they’re not really comparable. This isn’t me defending Snow, it’s just facts. As far as missing picks, Chicago completely whiffed on Jack Skille at 7 and Cam Barker at 3 in the years before drafting Kane and Toews (top 2 overall picks), so all rebuilds aren’t so clean. Chicago was also able to spend money when needed, like every other rebuild.

    I would just write that we came off of a playoff appearance last season, even gained back some national respect, and then spent about 3 million on new free agents, never-mind not adding to the defense (like Colorado did for cheap).. Everything else just deals with past financial issues that we all know about, but last summer is all the evidence you need about Wang.

    • Harry says:

      The whole Okposo discussion isn’t complete either, either because you don’t know, or you are choosing not to expand on it. I get you’re going after Snow here, but drafting and developing go hand in hand. Trying to give the Milbuiry regime credit for Okposo is funny, when his previous three first rounders were nokelainen. Robert Nilson, and O’Mara. Snow pushed to get Okposo out of Minnessota in 2008, where he was stagnating. Snow also traded that dead weight in Nokelainen, Nilson, and O’mara (all who turned into nothing as players), but kept Okposo. Again, this isn’t do defend the whole franchise, but to add context to some of the blind bashing that the readers are seeing.

  4. JJ says:

    After the referendum, charles stated that he was heartbroken. I believe he is bitter and has taken his ball and gone home. He has shown flashes of spending, given autonomy as well, now it seems those days are over and i personally dont think he cares one bit about islander fans. There is no recent track record to support any positives going into the 2014/2015 season. What a shame. Islander fans have endured quite a bit, it looks like we will have to continue. Our only hope is if CW sells the team to an owner that actually cares and wants to keep them in the market. If we are to be a perennial cap floor team, just be done with it and sell to quebec.

  5. Leon says:

    Started from the bottom.. Still here

  6. Tj says:

    I’ve been trying to find what the Islanders record is with a 2 goal lead this year compared to last as well as there record heading into the 3rd period with a lead. I remember Arthur Staple had it a while back, does anyone know the stats? I think our biggest problem is the coach and then the GM. Wang is also a problem, but I’ll have more on that tonight when I have more time to comment.

  7. Jibes says:

    You’re a very talented and passionate writer. Keep up the good work. I’m a glass-half-full guy (often getting burned b/c of this) and remain BK optimistic. I think big changes to the way the org is run are forthcoming and the arena issue was just a gigantic black hole of an issue to contend with. Tweaks, coaching change and infiltration of young D-corps will improve our outlook drastically. All that said, I detest our ownership and FO. Pay close attention to MSG…I can see Prohkorov buying the Isles in a few years to make NYC one crazy rivalry. GO ISLES!!!

  8. Mike says:

    Harry brings up some great points. The main issue with the Islanders isn’t so much who or where we draft because that is a crap shoot, the main cause for this circus in the refusal to spend money when needed. The issues with this team are so glaring you need to wear sunglasses just to look at them. Unfortunatly, our Owner would rather keep money in his pocket then do what is necessary to win. Any real organization that had expectations this season would have fired their coach back in November and maybe even the GM after he essentially brought nothing to the team over the summer. Not one fan is asking Wang to spend to the cap but we do expect money to be spent on not just the roster but also the front office and coaching staff. Anyone can see that Wang is running a bare bones budget as much as he can and 8 years of back hockey with little to no changes throughout the orgnanization just highlights it. The fans are not the only ones who suffer, guys like JT, Okposo, Grabner, Hamonic, etc are having years shaved off of their careers while playing for this rudderless ship. I have a bad feeling things are going to be much worse before things get better. Hopefully Yormark and crew who are aware of what is going on here step in at some point.

  9. Rob says:

    Pete- How can you not realize the draft is a crap shoot. Also keep in mind this.. Islanders have been bottom 5 consistently- but Pitt- last 3 years in a row… Chicago- 3rd pick then 1st….Colorado… 3rd pick, 2nd pick, and 1st….Isles have been bad yes but never seem to get 2nd and 3rd picks year after year. Clearly makes a difference. Your going to rave about Duchene? You did not want Tavares? I think the problem is not so much drafting but more the sprinkling in. I sat there at this thing back at the coli where Snow laid the plan out. He said build through the draft and sprinkle in free agents. You can say the players arent there yet sure but Nelson Lee Strome will get there. Keep in mind they are a few years younger then the Colorado players. The problem is some of these free agents are not good at all. They are traded for fourth round picks or not resigned. I feel if you are in favor of a total rebuild then you give up on the young players now. Thats wrong.

    Like I always say Pete- your a good fan I am not just not sure of your motive with this site. You want fans to recognize all the bad of the this organization. We cleary do. They suck. Sports change though. They can be good again.

    I wish you write an article saying holy shit lee strome nelson dehann reinhardt … this might work out. Instead of saying there are not the same as Colorados players who are a couple years older. Let them play man.

    • Harry says:

      Rob, and Chicago missed horribly in the draft the years before Toews and Kane. Chicago rebuild wasn’t exactly quick, they picked duncan keith way back in 2002 I believe.

      • Rob says:

        Harry you are right. Pete fails to realize this process. They have hit more in draft recently. That is why players are just starting to come together now. It takes a good 4 or 5 drafts. 09,10,11,12,13. This will be the 6th. The 08 draft is hard to put in as a rebuild because the whole reason we had to rebuild is because Ryan Smyth did not sign. Had he signed we probably would of been 8th place for 5 years. Now we have Tavares. I wonder which Pete would prefer. Although in 08, we did come away with Hamonic and Martin. Did miss on Bailey.

      • Rob says:

        Harry you are right. Pete fails to realize this process. They have hit more in draft recently. That is why players are just starting to come together now. It takes a good 4 or 5 drafts. 09,10,11,12,13. This will be the 6th. The 08 draft is hard to put in as a rebuild because the whole reason we had to rebuild is because Ryan Smyth did not sign. Had he signed we probably would of been 8th place for 5 years. Now we have Tavares. I wonder which Pete would prefer.

        • Harry says:

          Pete makes some good points, but the fact that we don’t spend a dollar is almost unprecedented, and that’s the real issue, not 1 deal given out to Josh Bailey, or not retaining Streit or Amac, who while better than our bottom pair, arent that good. No team has ever rebuilt just on the draft. Colrado is surging this year, but they also psent and traded to take on salary, like Johnson and D and Varlamov.

      • Rob says:

        Harry and for anybody that says we need a towes and kane … wrong we have okopso and tavares who have more points then both.

        • Harry says:

          ehh, i’m a huge okposo fan, but kane and toews have done it for longer. if we don’t get Ekblad this draft, Bennet or Reinhart will be that second really elite forward that we need.

  10. ablesser88 says:

    I don’t think the rebuild was a lie. Sure, we still suck right now. But if you look at our prospects (at least on defense), we have a bright future. I know we said that a while ago, but I am optimistic about the team. If you ask me, we would have been competing this year had we had quality goaltending. That is our #1 need by far. And I would hope that Snow realizes this and addresses this need. Hopefully, he a) is competent enough to get a quality goalie and b) is not limited by Wang when it comes to spending.

    I know the future looks kinda bleak right now, but we Isles fans need to keep our heads up and hope for the best. I am not giving up hope for our team.

  11. George says:

    I agree for the most part. Wang’s lack of spending is what’s killing the team. Snow sucks but the reason he’s here and has basically no staff is because Wang doesn’t care, is cheap or both. Pete mentions all the new revenue that Wang is going to get but lets not forget he also gets something from Neulion which has the streaming rights for NHL/AHL and Barclay’s.
    People are commenting on all the D prospects, sure there is probably a future #1 and/or #2 in there but it takes a while to know (2015-2016 at the earliest) which happens to be the last year of Grabner Neilsen and Okposo’s contracts, say goodbye now if they don’t do something to improve the D besides wait. It’s great that Strome, Lee and Nelson are with the team now but now whats left in the system at forward? Collberg and his 3 goals in the SEL? They have depleted their whole system of forwards because they 1) spent a draft taking only D 2) and another draft using their mid round picks to take 4 crappy goalies Nillson Kosk Mcadam Williams 3) Are so bad at bringing in talent from free agency that they are forced to bring them up early. Every summer I say this is the year that they go for it and fill in the missing pieces but then every summer passes and they find a way to spend right to the min cap. So if this summer passes without any major changes Pete’s will be right, this rebuild was a sham.

  12. Candyman says:

    I think that Moulson, Grabner, etc. were great finds. But that has nothing to do with Snow. If you throw an infinite amount of darts, eventually you hit a bull’s-eye.

  13. Nick says:

    Pete: Brilliant once again. I have looked forward to and enjoyed reading your blogs all season. You are undoubtedly the most knowledgable Islander fan out there. And the reason is, unlike so many other Islander fans, you don’t walk around with rose-colored glasses on your face. You see the truth for what it is.
    Everything you write is dead-on. You mentioned in a recent column that you are just trying to educate Islander fans. Unfortunately, I don’t think you are getting through to very many.

    • rob says:

      Nick- all isles fans see it. We just not to promote it and write about it. We are an educated loyal fan base. I choose to focus on the bright spots and young players. I am also realistic if the situation on the island and how attracting free agents ( snows biggest problem-not draft) is hard. Pete coulden’t do it either so dont say he is more educated. This team as currently set up can win. If the prospects they are counting on develop. They will need a goalie yes. But do not sit here any say that pete has pointed out these hard to find problems. Were a young team relying on draft and Garth has not singed the right free agents. No one wants to come here. He cant. However you would one perosn would want to come and say you know what I am going to change the culture here. On players too not just Garth. Tavares is that guy. Which is fine.

  14. John Macaluso says:

    Very well written. Raises a ton of thought… have to sell on Wang if he keeps Garth after this season.

  15. chuckessucks says:

    The owner is a POS, the GM a puppet, and the coach a fat boy loser

    • chuckessucks says:

      When the moron GM gets on Toronto radio to discuss with commitment to young players, you want to laugh. How many years has this Charles Wang puppet been saying this.

  16. Frank says:

    Great read. This is no rebuild it is damage control… let us do as little as possible until the move to Brooklyn. Now that The Brooklyn move is near, will THIS be the off season that Snow and Co. finally make an attempt at something positive during the summer? I think losing AMac is way over stated as I believe his positives are being the big fish in a very small pond but I agree with every other point you made. AMac is not a top 4 guy, he is a top 6 guy playing on a team with ONE other top 4 defenseman (Hamonic) on it.

    The questions will be answered after this season. If Wang fire Snow and cleans house.. we will know things are changing. If Snow is not fired and nets himself one of the many free agent goaltenders available this off season we will know. IF they manage to sign a defenseman or two to shore up the blue line, then we will know.

    If Snow is not fired and he promotes Doug Weight to head coach and signs Adam Hall and Scott Gomez as his big off season signings.. then we will know also.

    I am an Islander fan and have been since I was 7 years old.. Imagine the highs of 1993, followed by 20 years of this kind of constant crap, and then you can imagine the frustration I am feeling as I sit with my two boys trying to explain how we stick with our team through the bad times… all they have known is bad times. They do not remember watching the rest the NHL quiver with fear having to play the mighty Islanders back in the day. They do not remember the thrill of watching Al Arbour out-coach Scotty Bowman and pull off the biggest upset maybe in NHL playoff history in 1993.

    No, What they know is 6-0 thrashings and 17 blown third period leads.

    • JON says:

      The post below, or perhaps more than one, have been provided by the token astroturfers that have helped to systematically destroy this franchise by condoning Chuckie’s criminal mismanagement.

  17. NYIFC says:

    Your article is from the heart, not the head and it leaves out a lot selectively or because you don’t wish to present a fair view? Perhaps it’s your age or you don’t see the politics that effect each team’s ability to spend?

    I don’t know.

    I want to believe you wish to be fair and not just rant for personal attention so let’s see if you can by doing the research on what I’m presenting. If you have questions I’ll be glad to give you information links to help if you want.

    Tell me the defenders or players Snow should have gone after last summer given the very slim pickings in UFA. How much do you want to front-load a contract?

    Charles Wang up until 2008 when the major front-loading of contracts began (you do understand front-loading means an UFA wants half or more of their money in the first two years) had a payroll not at the floor but in the bottom third. Before that he had a payroll in the middle of the league vs teams in modern taxpayer funded buildings or getting taxpayer money yearly to subsidize the payroll.

    Front loading is what free agents want in July, Brad Richards in the first two years got 42 million of his 60 million paid. Ehrhoff has half his money within two years. No one wants to lose money in a Yashin-DiPietro straight contract buyout or wind up like Wade Redden.

    Wang could have done a full buyout on DiPietro, he took the compliance which meant he had to replace money on the cap. Florida did a standard buyout and kept the cap hit.

    Wang and Rechler got what Islander owners have heard since John Pickett paid for four Stanley cups around 1989. No new arena, no renovations. In fact, even though you are the tenant you renovate the building for us.

    Scott Rechler was Wang’s partner who lost his share of 20 million dollars. Convicted felon Steinbrenner said I’m not paying my rent since 1982., I want 1.5 billion from taxpayers or else. Madoff’s pal Wilpon wanted 600m from taxpayers and his real estate on Shea site, junkyard and now Flushing Meadows park.

    Who do you think paid for the first matrix board in a New York arena? Wang in 2001, he replaced Howard Milsten’s hoistage scoreboard where the owner put up with Nassau for a month dropped the payroll the fourteen million and put the franchise in mothballs after he could not move the team out of the Coliseum immediately?

    Dolan get’s a seventeen million dollar check every single year he renovated with Cablevison cash to keep. Phoenix new owner gets a fifteen million dollar check in a modern building. Every New York and New Jersey team got a taxpayer financed stadium or arena including a convicted felon like Steinbrenner who got 1.5 billion, while Madoff’s pal Wilpon got his check and Mario Cuomo celebrating with him outside court.

    The Giants and Jets got taxpayer funded training campus and the 1976 debt forgiven on the other stadium.

    The Devils got a taxpayer funded arena and revenue with the owner Vanderbeek going into default.

    Funny this part did not make your article as bankrupt Detroit is giving Wings owner Mike Illitch who does not pay his rent and owes cable rights bills back to 1980 while being sponsored by Amway 284 million dollars for a Lighthouse, more for Edmonton’s owner’s Daryl Katz Lighthouse and many of the other teams all getting taxpayer money which funds teams spending on team and real estate including Buffalo’s new taxpayer scheme for Peguila.

    Chris Botta?

    Botta went to Detroit to ask Mike Illiitch his favorite color, came home with his resume padded and even one outlet in Detroit wondered why he did not ask Illitch or his casino wife Mario about the taxpayer money for the Wings or Tigers.

    Google it, basic research.

    Why don’t you go look this up instead of spending Wang 2016 money for a minute if you have any interest in being fair at all?

    Wang got Mangano, Murray, Suozzi., Gulotta, Jacobs, Mondello and renovated a building he did not own out pocket many times, he paid 17 miillion dollars for the 2009 sublease some called a gift.

    Before that Flyers owner Ed Snider of Smg took all parking, concessions, eleven percent of tickets sales, forty percent of advertising, Wang was signing players when Mario in Pittsburgh with the same Smg lease sold off half his team wholesale.

    Wang agreed to a nutty referendum with no real estate and no taxpayer check like other teams get, many of those teams received NHL revenue sharing since 2006.

    Why don’t you look up with other teams receive from the taxpayers vs this one? Wang’s kept spending in some UFA markets that have been weak to where James Wisniweski got 36 million (20 frontloaded) Ehrhoff 40m front-loaded 20m.

    Sure rebuilds fail, just look at Florida, Phoenix, and the many teams that have never won anything in this league. it could happen here. But with this young defense it’s far to early to make such a claim until the young defenders catch up to the young offense.

    So let me get this straight? 22 year old Anders Lee cannot play next to Tavares but Chris Kreider at age 21 can play on the Cablevision Rangers top line?

    Josh Bailey was rushed., says who a former pr person who’s been wrong about everything except that Msg was eliminating Jaffe and kicked Goring to the teams telecast and told the Isles shut up if you ever want another pregame or one preseason game on ITV ? Bailey got hurt his rookie year same as Niederreiter right out of camp. Don’t tell me it was a cap hit issue when Clutterbuck makes more than Niederreiter this year and easily could have been replaced with another bonus contract.

    I would like to see you prove those scouting numbers. Note-Canadians never ever announced Jankowski’s departure, just like the Islanders.

    Snow came in with no first rounder in Smyth trade, no second rounder, his team led the NHL in man games lost to injury with 402, 520,620 three of his first four years. Streit ran into Okposo and both lost a season or most of it, Sim came in off back to back 17 goal years and blew out his knee. Hunter got hurt, Witt signed a three year extension early and got hurt.

    What did Wang do? He saved Bridgeport and Iceworks from bankruptcy so our prospects had a place to go. Before Wang Milbury was pulling prospects out of Springfield because they were not being used equally in a shared affiliation.

    Sno gambled and lost on Sim, Hunter, Witt, who could not stay healthy or effective. He had amazing success on Moulson, Streit, Parenteau and Grabner, and moderate success on Boyes. Sillinger, Hilbert both stayed hurt.

    That’s better than most teams do.

    Pandolfo got the same bonus contract he received with the Devils.

    So tell me given what players signed for front-loaded should Wang have done? Who was available the last two summers on defense to replace Eaton, Staios, Jurcina, Carkner where Snow failed because he could not give out a hundred million dollar contract front-loaded?

    Capuano was hired by the Isles in 2005 same as Dan Bylsma with the same abilities, he does not have a slots license or Con-Sol energy funding the the payroll.

    Capuano is an excellent head coach, who’s well respected by his players from their own comments about being here or resigning here and this team has competed well but did not close out games or win at home nearly enough.

    When these kids grow up we’ll know but the success of Tavares, Nielsen, Vanek, Moulson, Okposo say something as does the regression of Grabner, Bailey.

    A year ago Okposo had four goals.

    Please don’t tell me Visnovsky resigned here because of family. because that’s simply not true. He made clear he wanted to be on West Coast.

    Final thing if Wang were such a disaster why did everyone take his money with such enthusiasm and praise being here, even the guys who left all praised the management. Peca went to the finals and roasted Edmonton upon leaving, he praised Wang so does Yashin, so did Hunter.

    Ok. hoping for a respectful response, not a fight.

    • JON says:

      Jesus “nyifc”, you are a nit-wit and an imbecile. Can you not see that for all of your pro-wang propaganda, you have only been enabling this criminal to get away with using your team as a tax write-off?! What is wrong with you?!

  18. Smittybs says:

    I mostly don’t disagree with what’s written. However you write, and it reads like a bs blogger. Their too many untruths in your very emotional blog. If your writing an article, do not omit facts just to make your point. For example, and I’m not defending the isles. We never tried to resign Moulson. How did he opt not to resign with the team?

  19. NYIFC says:

    Not so fast there Smitty.

    The Pioneer Press in Minnesota and Newsday on 3/18 both had articles about negotiations with Moulson before he was traded. The Pioneer Press article said negotiations were during preseason.

    On 9/20/13 Newsday reported no discussions have taken place so far.

    Snow said he had talks with his agent.

    • Smittybs says:


      They had initial discussions, and he had hoped/expected a deal would get done. Then appears that if the management had continued negotiations, he would have been re-signed. He or his agent never gave a quote saying he wouldn’t sign here. That was the point i was making to the author of the article.

      So on 9/20/13 Newsday said there were discussions, but on 3/18/14 Newsday said discussions took place?

      Thats nonsense

      • Smittybs says:

        ***So on 9/20/13 Newsday said there were no discussions, but on 3/18/14 Newsday said discussions took place?***

        • Tj says:

          Arthur Staple said in a online chat the other day that Moulson was asking for 6.5 million per and the Islanders would go nowhere near that, so that helped influence the trade.

          • Tj says:

            Here the quote from the chat “I believe Matt Moulson’s reps were asking for $6m per for 4-5 years. That was a non-starter for Snow, which in turn upset Moulson quite a bit; there was a lot of tension there as training camp opened. Despite the chemistry and Moulson’s place as one of the core Islanders, I think Snow and the staff felt they needed a more dynamic player on the top line to keep up with Tavares’ improving play. No one doubts Moulson’s heart and ability to mesh well with any players, I think it was primarily a skill observation.”

      • Harry says:

        Moulson has been decent with Minn, but he wasnt on 1st line in playoffs or beginning of the season, he isnt worth 6 million a year, simple as that.

  20. Mike.D says:

    Couldn’t have said this better myself.I always new that Wang is pocketing the most that he can until the move.It’s too bad this move isn’t happening yesterday.I will always support the Islanders,i even try to go watch them when they come to Montreal.Hang in there everyone the black cloud will eventually drift away hope sooner rather than later.GO ISLES NATION

  21. Tj says:

    Pete, you have brought up the payroll issue in the past. What would you do different? Out of the players the Islanders let go that you mentioned above who would you have kept? That sounded like your voice on the pod cast saying that MacDonald was not worth the money. Do you think that Moulson is worth the 6 million per for 4-5 years reported by Arthur Staple? Did you want the Islanders to give Streit that extra year to keep him? They’ve tried brining in outside help. When it come to free agents, it not like Garth hasn’t tried. Snow offered big contracts to Paul Martin and Dan Hamhuis, only to be spurned by both to sign for less with Pittsburgh and Vancouver. He also acquired the rights to Christian Ehroff, only to be rebuffed by him as well. He tried to resign Ryan Smyth to a five-year deal worth $32.25 million and he went to Colorado for less money. He tried to resign Vanek and he wouldn’t even negotiate. So three UFA I’ve mentioned sign with other teams for less money, you tell me, what would you have done different? The way I see it the payroll is right where it should be.

  22. Tj says:

    Back on March 8th Arthur Staple wrote “The season-long mess the Islanders have made of third periods, having allowed a league-high 77 goals in the third while scoring only 52, has been magnified by all the times the Islanders have failed with a lead.

    They have taken a lead into the third period 20 times in their 66 games; their 9-6-5 record in those games gives them a .450 winning percentage. No team in the last 15 seasons has had a sub-.500 record when leading after two periods.

    By contrast, the Islanders took a lead into the third period 19 times in the 48 games last season. They were 16-2-1 (.842) in those games.”

    Add to that the 13 two goal leads they have blown this year. The point I want to make here is that they are a decent team for 2 periods. I believe this team is not as bad as their record suggest and I think its a matter of having a quality coach at the helm.

    • Harry says:

      would a quality coach stop shots? No, but a quality goalie would. Capuano does what every coach does with a lead, goes in a shell, go watch San Jose, Pitt, The Rags, etc. Our players just haven’t executed. And attacking with a lead is stupid because you open yourself up to coutnerattacks, which, with out goaltending, is even worse.

      • Tj says:

        We are good enough to win for 2 periods with the same goaltending, but not for 3. Yes we need a better goalie, but we also need a better coach. You can’t blame all of these blown leads on bad goaltending.

  23. Tj says:

    The excuses the Islanders use that nobody wants to play at the Coliseum are real. And to say that’s its getting old, really? Moving to Brooklyn is still kind of new. Last off season was the first off season that the league knew where the team was heading. I think you underestimate the dump the coliseum has become and the turn off it was for a player to sign with a team that they knew would soon be moving, but didn’t know where.

  24. Rick says:

    Relax bro

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