Gerry Broome/Associated Press
Minnesota Wild forward Nino Niederreiter, Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville.
Of course, to be fair, Snow’s drafting incompetence isn’t limited to just goalies. Sure, he hit the John Tavares pick out of the park back in 2009, but how often do GMs screw up the first overall pick?
Not that often—and really, only and handful of times dating back to the turn of the century, when a certain goaltender out of Boston University by the name of Rick DiPietr…oh, God, will it ever end???
That was, of course, Mike Milbury’s pick, so no one can possibly hold that against Snow. However, he really hasn’t fared much better. For example, none of his 2007 picks panned out. In 2008, when he picked Joshua Bailey ninth overall, he missed out on Cody Hodgson, Tyler Myers, Erik Karlsson and Jordan Eberle.
To his credit, he did pick Travis Hamonic in the second round and a few sleepers later on in Matt Martin and Jared Spurgeon, both of whom have played over 200 games in the NHL. Unfortunately, all of Spurgeon’s 210 have come with the Wild after Snow failed to sign him.
In 2009, he again managed a few good picks besides Tavares in Casey Cizikas (92nd overall) and potentially Anders Lee (152nd overall), two picks he impressively acquired in one fell swoop by trading his 56th pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
However, he also held the 12th pick, with which he selected defenseman Calvin de Haan, who has played just 41 games in the league. With the exception of one (Philippe Paradis; 27th by the Carolina Hurricanes), every single remaining first-round pick in that year’s draft has played more.
That includes other superior defensemen (if the Islanders were indeed hellbent on picking one with that pick) like Florida Panthers Dmitry Kulikov (14th) and Dylan Olsen (28th), Chicago Blackhawk Nick Leddy (16th), New York Ranger John Moore and Pittsburgh Penguin Simon Despres (30th).
With the 31st pick, the Islanders meanwhile selected goaltender Mikko Koskinen, narrowly missing out on the Colorado Avalanche’s Ryan O’Reilly (33rd) and, oh yeah, Ottawa Senator Robin Lehner (46th).
In 2010, Snow also wasted his first-round pick by selecting Nino Niederreiter fifth overall, whom the Islanders largely discarded, trading him away to the Wild for third-line grinder Cal Clutterbuck. Niederreiter has since found some success in Minnesota, with 30 points in 62 games.
Even if one were to argue Niederreiter never would have worked out in New York, Snow could have alternatively chosen either Jeff Skinner (seventh), Mikael Granlund (ninth), Cam Fowler (12th), Jaden Schwartz (14th) or Vladimir Tarasenko (16th). That’s five different success stories in a span of the next 11 picks, almost a 50 percent success rate. Instead, Snow settled for Clutterbuck.
The bottom line is that New York can do better…on so many different levels.