New York Islanders; Time to Change the GM and the Coach

Writing about letting go a team’s general manager and their head coach is not my style. However, given the current state of the New York Islanders, the ownership tandem of Scott Malkin and Jonathan Ledecky need to bring in a new regime. It’s time to change the general manager and the head coach.

State of Play

The New York Islanders play this year has been abysmal. They have played worse than their record of 5-7-3. That is saying something. On most nights the Isles can’t score more than two goals. The power play has been terrible, as it’s currently ranked 26th (11.4%). The penalty kill started out terrific but has struggled mightily lately (ranked 25th at 78.0%).

What is beyond head-scratching is the late blown leads in the third period this year. They have been numerous and none more painful than this past Saturday’s loss in Florida against the Panthers. With the Islanders D-core and goaltending, blown leads should be few and far between.

While there are coaching and general manager issues, the players have to be held accountable. Saying every player on the Islanders needs to play much better, is a huge understatement.

New GM & Coach

Both Garth Snow and Jack Capuano have done a lot of good things. Snow has built a deep talented young organization and Capuano has brought and preached a winning mentality. However, given their length of tenure and the mandate the Islanders most progress, it’s time for a change.

If George McPhee was still part of the Islanders front office, this would be a much more of a seamless move. Unfortunately, McPhee has moved on to Las Vegas to become their general manager.

So where does that leave Malkin and Ledecky to hire a new GM and head coach? The reality is a top established general manager and head coach are not waiting by the phone for their next opportunity.

Ownership is going to have to look at the top assistant general managers in the league. One name that comes to mind is Scott Mellanby (former NHL player), who is part of the Montreal Canadiens front office.

At that point, ownership should let their new GM hire the next head coach for the Islanders. So there will be a brief period of an interim head coach.

Again in all likelihood at this point and time the best options at head coach, appear to be talented assistant coaches waiting for their chance. One such coach who has received praise is ex-Islander Steve Thomas, who is part of the St. Louis Blues coaching staff.

This season was supposed to be about the Islanders taking a big step forward. So far they have taken a huge step backwards. Yes, it’s still early in the season but the clock is ticking and fast. Given the way the Penguins, Capitals, and the Rangers are playing, the Islanders are looking at a wild card scenario if they are going to make the post-season at all.

A team cannot qualify for the playoffs the first two months of the season but with a poor record, they can eliminate themselves.

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