The Not-So-Sweet Sixteen narrowly avoided its first upset yesterday as Mike Barnett snuck by Mike Keenan with 57% of the vote. The tournament continues today with another Mike as Mike Milbury takes on Garth Snow to decide which man has done more damage to the New York Islanders since the lockout. That last little prepositional phrase is an important one. Milbury probably doesn't even belong in this tournament, truth be told, but I couldn't bring myself to leave him out completely since (a) he was a general manager during this period, even if it was just briefly, and (b) his pre-lockout track record makes him the probable incumbent for title of worst GM from the last CBA (1994 to 2004). Would a corpse be able to win a federal seat for the Conservatives in Calgary? Mike Milbury helps us to find the answer.
(11) Mike Milbury
Teams Managed: New York Islanders (Start to January 12, 2006)
Record: 18-22-2 (.452 points percentage)
Mike Milbury didn't do a whole lot in his post-lockout tenure. He traded Janne Niinimaa and a 5th-round pick for John Erskine and a 2nd-round pick; he traded a 2nd round pick for Brent Sopel; and he traded Mike Peca for Mike York and 4th-round pick (which they later traded to the Colorado Avalanche who used it to select current Baron Kevin Montgomery). So that's all of the trades post-lockout. Crazy signings? Nothing too noteworthy that I could find. Yeah, the Islanders still sucked that season, but most of the stuff still impacting the team post-lockout is actually stuff he did pre-lockout like signing Alexei Yashin to that crazy contract - the Islanders are still paying him $2.2M a season not to play (and will until 2015). Is his legacy really enough for him to move on to the next round?
(6) Garth Snow
Teams Managed: New York Islanders (July 18, 2006 to Present)
Record: 193-222-65 (.470 points percentage)
I actually like a lot of what Garth Snow has done. He made the playoffs in his first season as general manager, and making the playoffs is an accomplishment that not everyone in this tournament can boast. Snow has also done a pretty good job of managing contracts recently. He signed John Tavares and Frans Nielsen to team-friendly contracts that will keep them on the Island for the next several years (so long as the team's there), and made a very reasonable gamble of Kyle Okposo. He showed appropriate caution with Matt Moulson by signing him to a one-year deal after his breakout season before agreeing to a long-term pact. On the other hand, he didn't repeat that practice with Michael Grabner, a decision he must now regret, and he hasn't been able to either sign or trade P.A. Parenteau who looks poised to walk away as an unrestricted free agent. Snow's rebuilding plan is also now in its fifth year and seems to have stalled at the stage where you tank. The Islanders were supposed to be better this year, but it hasn't happened. The team is on track for its fifth consecutive season with a goal differential of -35 or worse, and going by clear victories (wins by two or more not including empty-net goals for), they're actually the worst team in the league this season. Snow doesn't have much of a budget, and some of the individual moves have been good, but the overall plan simply isn't working. Oh, and he signed Rick DiPietro to a 15-year contract that would pay him $4.5M per season, a contract that absolutely dominated last year's Not-So-Sweet Sixteen because it's just that bad.