Dear Mr. Ledecky,
I understand that this season has not lived up to the expectations that were placed upon it. I also understand why you haven’t initiated any organizational change, the on-ice product is the responsibilities of Garth Snow and his staff not yourself. With that being said, it is time to turn over the organization’s hockey operations staff. The culture that surrounds this team is still negative, and now is the opportunity to change that culture. An issue that has not gotten enough investigation is why did Frans Nielson leave this summer. He was offered a similar deal but he decided it was time for a change, players don’t choose to leave positive situations. Whether it is fair to Snow or not, a new personality needs to be running this team.
This year is now a transition year, unfortunately the season has already reached the point of no return. Teams do not make the playoffs when they are this far out by Thanksgiving. Over the last three seasons it has taken an average (mean) of 96 points to make the playoffs. For the Isles to reach that mark they need to go 38-22 to get to that mark. That is the pace of a 110-point team and a President’s Cup contender, nobody thinks this team has that ability. The time to make changes to the on-ice product has passed, make a move behind the bench is futile. It is a difficult decision to give up on the season but it’s better then chasing it. Making a panic move will only have adverse effects on the future. Snow has had his opportunity to change the course of this season and he passed. Looking down the road this team has no major decisions to make until the end of the season. (The only pending ufa is Thomas Greiss). If there was a good time to make this decision it would be soon, if not now.
The first step needs to be finding a President of Hockey Operations. The responsibility would be to build a first-class hockey operation. The Isles currently have one of the smallest operations in the league. As we should have learned for years, Hockey Operations is not a place to pinch pennies. The return on investments here can have positive effects both on ice and in the ledger. Gone should be the days of a bare bones operation, allowing the President of Hockey Operations to build this organization as he sees fit it a vital step to future success. The new President needs to bring instant credibility to the organization, and he needs to be a leader/ organizer. Additionally, he should be the face of the organization. The Isles are not a media friendly team. It is almost impossible to get any information out to the fan base. When news worthy events occur, someone needs to be held accountable to answer for the circumstances. I understand that it is not the best part of the job but the customers demand to hear what is happening. The fact that we have not heard from Garth Snow or yourself in any meaningful way while the season is collapsing is unacceptable.
This organization needs to expand as well. Just look at how many people work for teams (in Hockey Operations, Scouting etc) like the Toronto Maple Leafs (36), or Chicago Blackhawks (39) in comparison to how many work for the Islanders (20). It takes actual people to run a successful organization. The fact that the Islanders do not have anyone with analytics in their title shows how far behind the curve they are. Unfortunately, the chance to be ahead of the analytic curve has passed, the Isles now must catch up to the rest of the league. No matter how the emphasis put on these “fancy” stats only a fool disregards their value. I’m sure you understand how important it is to get every piece of information available before making a big discussion. This is no longer a competitive advantage but a competitive necessity.
No matter what happens for the rest of the season, it is time to change the culture of this organization. The successes of last season are behind this team. It took too long to get to where the Isles were last season, this step back is unacceptable. There are pieces in place for a quick turnaround. This can’t be the same old Islanders anymore. You promised to make this a first-class organization, here is your opportunity to Make the Islanders Great Again.
Three Stars of the Week
- Anders Lee: Lee seems to have finally woken up, and that effort in LA last week maybe is not a fluke. He added another two goals this week including the game winner against Pittsburgh.
- Thomas Hickey: Hickey had two game winning efforts this week. He was able to deflect in the winning goal in overtime Monday. In addition, he had the shot that was deflected for the game winning goal on Wednesday. Two game winning efforts is always a quick way to be a star of the week.
1 Thomas Greiss: He is this teams number one goalie. After another good week where he was the only reason they had a chance to win Wednesday night. He had a .920 save percentage for the week and has given them the chance to win every game he has been in over the last few weeks.