Garth's Time To Shine

With the NHL roster freeze upon us at 3pm today, this could be the most eventful day of the Islanders' lost season.

Unfortunately this is early February, not late June and all of the action will be coming from the front office, not the ice.  But with the Isles in the midst of another pathetic losing streak, their 2013-14 season is over and they must get optimal returns for their two biggest trade chips.

Garth Snow’s legacy will be judged on the reparations that he can get for Thomas Vanek and Andrew MacDonald.  Both players are set to be free agents July 1, 2014 and both have recently turned down substantial offers from the Islanders General Manager.

“It’s not you it’s me” is Vanek’s excuse for turning down $50 million over 7 years from the Islanders.  This is the same deal Vanek signed 7 years ago with the Sabres when he wasn’t lazy and actually skated back on defense.  The veteran winger is clearly in the decline of his career, but he is under the impression that he can command more on the open market.  Or he could just not want to be an Islander.

Vanek has been rumored for a while to be counting the hours until he was a free agent again so he could make his long awaited return to his American home in Minnesota and play for the Wild.  Vanek is just a little shy about coming out and saying that he doesn’t want to be on Long Island, so he channeled his inner Seinfeld.  However, along with George Costanza, Islander fans invented the “it’s not you it’s me” routine and we would just appreciate the truth.

According to sources “many teams have shown interest in Vanek”, which is great, but with the understanding that he will only be a rental and the fact that the Islanders are being held over a barrel, will they get enough in return?

As far as veteran defensemen Andrew MacDonald is concerned, “everyone knows what Andrew’s stance is about staying with the Islanders” according to his agent.  Any normal individual would take such a statement that he wants to remain with the team.  Not so fast.(flickr/bobfina72)

The New York Post reported Thursday that MacDonald turned down a 700% raise (4 years/$16 million) from the Islanders last month because he feels that he deserves at least $5 million a year over 4 years.  That’s at least $20 million.  $20 million!  $20 million?  He could’ve practically doubled what he made in 4 seasons with one year of the proposed deal.

Allocate at least $20 million to a defenseman that plays poor defensively?  Allocate at least $20 million to a defenseman that cannot skate that puck into the opposing zone on the power play?  Allocate at least $20 million to a defenseman that passes the puck more to the other team than he does to his own?

MacDonald has 49 giveaways compared to only 21 takeaways.  He has a -12 rating.  He’s never scored more than 27 points in a season and has never taken more than 72 shots in a year.

He is what he is, a good 5th or 6th defenseman, solid point man on a 2nd power play unit, and a player that doesn’t log more than 20 minutes a night.

Stories are swirling that AMac feels he deserves to be paid after being paid nothing over the past 4 seasons and most fans agree with that sentiment.  But again, even though we are fans we are not dumb, we are not the ones that signed the initial deal 4 years ago and we cannot comprehend mediocre players turning down big deals only to say “I want to be here though, I really do!”

Thursday night’s debacle against the Flames was followed by the trade of Snow’s only offseason additions, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Peter Regin, for a 4th round pick.  Obviously this deal speaks volumes for how poor of an offseason Gath had, nevertheless, what this did was free up the number of contracts the Isles currently have on their roster which essentially means more transactions are imminent.

The trade at the beginning of the season for Vanek currently looks like a loss for Garth and the Isles, but if he can turn him and MacDonald into substantial pieces he will have definitely saved face.  Making a deal before the Olympic freeze, especially for Vanek, would be crucial to solidify the Islander core for the upcoming seasons.(flickr/lighthouse_li)

If Garth Snow fails to move on from Vanek and MacDonald with significant returns, then it is time for Charles Wang to move on from Garth Snow.


-Chad DeCarlo

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