Sunday night, Garth Snow was the special guest with Gary Harding and Jon Panarese on Long Island's SportstalkRadio1240. Snow was affable and forthcoming with his usual boilerplate, but he did have some interesting things to say to about a variety of topics.
A few (mostly paraphrased) quotes are below. We'll add a link to the 45-minute segment when one is available. [UPDATE: Here's the link to full audio at IslesTalk.]
On newest Islander Jaroslav Halak:
The trade for Halak is an opportunity to negotiate exclusively for two months. We have no goaltenders under contract for next season. We made the trade with the hope of signing him. If not, there are other avenues to go down, but right now, we're going to give it our best shot to sign Halak.
On the reassignment of Brent Thompson to head coach of the Sound Tigers:
One of the most important positions in this organization is the head coach of Bridgeport. With us having so many defensemen coming through the system, it makes it even more important. Brent had tremendous success when he coached in Bridgeport 2-3 years ago. This is a move up in responsibility for him.
On prospect Sebastian Collberg:
Our plan for Sebastien is for him to play in the AHL next year. He is in the final year of his 3-year entry level contract. He has an explosive shot. He's a great skater. The goal is to get him adapted to the North American game and get stronger. He had to get shoulder surgery and has been on Long Island rehabbing his shoulder injury. We had him on list when he was drafted at 22 and we had 33. He's got the potential to be a top-six winger. How he develops is a million dollar question a lot of prospects.
On their draft strategy this year:
Five years ago, we had a huge hole at center and defense and turned that into a great strength. Our biggest weakness is wingers coming through system. [they will most likely] take the best player available at draft, but if it's six-of-one-half-a-dozen-of-another, we'll probably draft for need if two players are similar at potential.
On whether the move to Barclays Center will affect the Islanders ability to sign free agents:
I believe it will. The conversations I've had with agents, the first thing they always ask is when are you moving to Brooklyn. The certainty of knowing where you're going to be plays a big part in [signing free agents]. Players are hesitant to buy a home if there is a chance of relocating.
On where the Islanders will practice after the move. I found this interesting in that he didn't just say, "our practice facility is Ice Works."
We have a few different options. Whether it's in a renovated Ice Works or other venues that have shown interest to make themselves available as a new practice facility. There are good options. But I envision practicing out on Long Island.
Young defensemen: The original question was about the chances of Griffin Reinhart and Ryan Pulock making the team out of camp, but the answer turned into an outlook on prospects in general and an observation about Scott Mayfield.
We'll go in with an open mind in training camp. Never want to discourage any of those young players, especially going into summer training for NHL season. I thought Scott Mayfield played pretty well, but I still think he needs some time in AHL. Time will tell with these young players. That's not a great answer, but it's an an honest one.
On free agents, the annual "no restrictions" declaration and his philosophy in spending money:
The free agent class this summer is not a very strong class. For us, it's always about adding the right player. When I pay elite money to a player, I want an elite player back. We're not going to give elite money to an average player. That's put us closer to floor, and a lot of it is because we haven't gotten that elite talent. I've said until I'm blue in face but it's a true statement, I've never had a restriction, but my own opinion is I'm not going to spend foolishly and we have been responsible in that regard.
Prompted by Michel Therrien's pointed comments about Thomas Vanek, Snow was asked how he would handle his coach being openly critical about a player to the media:
Since I've been manager, we haven't made a habit of hanging players out to dry. For our coaching staff, if you want to make a statement, we do it behind closed doors. The players appreciate it and I think it's a big reason why we've been able to retain our own players like John Tavares, Kyle Okposo, Michael Grabner, Travis Hamonic. When things go poorly, they know the coaches won't throw them under the bus. That loyalty is a two way street.
On what he and the players are feeling about the move to Barclays.
We're excited to go to a billion dollar facility. On one one hand you're sad to lose that feeling of that electricty in old barn, but then you have the electricity of having what every other team in the league has. It's nice to know our turn is right around corner.
On the health of John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. Is Tavares Wolverine?:
Both players are doing well. If our team was in the playoffs, John would be playing. There are no issues with either player to start next year. The biggest plus is that they won't miss their training programs.
Again, there was more in the full 45-minute segment, which we'll link when the archive is up. But that's a good start for discussion.