Contrary to popular opinion, Garth Snow handled the deadline appropriately. Do not misunderstand, this does not mean he gets a passing grade for the season. Just making the playoffs would not be enough to change the opinion of this team. The fate of this team was sealed weeks ago. A mere three weeks ago the Isles were eight points out of first place in the Metro, and four points out of second. Now they are 12 points out of first place and 11 out of third. The second wild card is the only viable path to the playoffs now (they are two points behind Columbus). The pack has left the Islanders behind. The best-case scenario for this season is a playoff appearance and a quick exit at the hands of Tampa or Boston. A move today could have made that scenario more likely, there is no scenario where this season ends better than that.
The Snow must go movement is about fans upset with the status quo. Many of those fans are upset that Snow didn’t make a move today. There was no player traded today that would have changed the status quo. Sure, there were plenty of players available that would have helped the Isles make the playoffs, but many have already made it known that was not good enough. Why give up the assets? They could have made similar moves to Columbus (who added multiple pieces for a playoff run) but would that have changed anybody’s mind on the season. Even if they acquired Ryan McDonagh from the Rangers, they were not going past the first round in the playoffs, never mind a final. Giving up any of their premier assets would have been a terrible misjudgment. Giving up minimal assets to get Brandon Davidson and Chris Wagner was the best the Islanders could have done.
The other issue was the Isles could not be sellers. Removing John Tavares from the conversation (because it’s the worst idea ever), the Isles didn’t even have assets to sell. Their pending ufa are hurt and therefore useless at the deadline (Kulemin, deHaan), bottom level defenseman (Hickey, Seidenberg) and Jaro Halak. The Isles were not trading Halak, the late round pick would not be worth completely giving up on the season. There were rumors that teams wanted Brock Nelson, but as an rfa he is in play again this summer.
These factors led to a quiet deadline for the Isles and that’s the way it should have been. The time to help this team was in January before the hole became too big. It was unpopular but Snow did the best thing he could have done today. This does not mean he isn’t judged on what he did leading up to now.