In the desperate search for answers, the latest rumor is that former Islander Tom Fitzgerald will be taking over as Islanders General Manger for the next season. This is expected to happen after the Devils are eliminated from the playoffs. While many see this as progress, I’m confused by this thought process. Any move that removes Snow from day to day running of this team will be seen as a win by the fanbase. The hiring of Fitzgerald does not answer questions though. What does this possible move mean for Garth Snow? Will he be promoted out of the General Manager position or will he be let go? The prevailing thought seems to be, he will be promoted out of the position but that seems questionable at best. There are plenty of flaws in this plan. As an outsider, I’m trying to look at this situation logically (which may be a problem, I’m aware).
The fact that the rumors have settled on Tom Fitzgerald is the biggest red flag. This is a guy with zero experience as an NHL General Manager. The buzz around the league is that he is absolutely a qualified candidate but he’s far from a prodigy. It is concerning that they would hire him without doing a full search, and to do that search an actual decision must be made on Garth Snow. It is almost impossible to do a full search while leaving Snow hanging in the wind. This would also be disrespectful to Snow, and others throughout the league would notice. If Fitzgerald is truly the guy they want, how do they know he will accept the job? If they have received some sort of assurance that he will be moving across a couple rivers, then they should have made the Snow decision by now. If Fitzgerald has not agreed to a deal, it is weird to think that Snow is a second choice to Fitzgerald. The first decision that an organization makes is about its own employees, then looks to the outside, not the other way around.
What if the Islanders were waiting for a different team to be eliminated from the playoffs. There are rumors that the Toronto Maple Leafs and Lou Lamoriello may be parting ways at the completion of the season (or he may take a lesser role within the organization). What if the Islanders wanted to bring in someone with Lou Lamoriello’s pedigree to run the organization at least for the short term. It would make sense for the Islanders to wait until the Leafs were eliminated and at least have an informal conversation with him. The fact that his son Chris is already in the organization is an interesting dynamic that may be at play. The general manager search process is not nearly as intense when teams are hiring someone with the resume of a Lou Lamoriello. In addition to the Isles choosing Lamoriello, he must also choose them.
If there was no chance of Snow remaining in the organization he would be fired by now. If they were choosing a general manager without any experience and promoting Garth Snow out of the position, it would have been done by now. It is hard to believe that the Islanders would be so secretive if they were hoping to land someone without experience such as Fitzgerald. The decision on Snow would have been made. If they are looking at a more experienced candidate to completely run the organization, they may be more willing to not expose the whole process in case they were turned down. I