We have seen this act before.
The same fans who refused to attend games in the late 1990's are once again tired of waiting, and out of patience.
They blame the owner/gm, and demand immediate action.
A decade ago Mike Milbury gave you action.
This time Garth Snow is determined to stick to his plan.
Sounds nice, reads well, however this time there are major differences.
The same fans who refused to attend games in the late 1990's with Howard/Ed Milstein, who dropped the payroll to nothing, and told Mike Milbury to trade Palffy are no longer here.
This time it's Charles Wang, who's signed all his top players/prospects long-term, and has proven he will spend countless times, but is not going to front-load contract offers which is what all the top free agents receive.
We have no idea what the players back then thought of the Howard/Ed Milstein, but this teams top players, all took Charles Wang's money, and praised him.
All John Tavares would have had to do is instruct agent, Pat Brisson, he is signing only to the point he can go UFA, or will not play here any longer, same for Bailey, Okposo, Grabner.
Instead the same agent who made clear the Islanders would be one of the last places he would personally sign with before he was drafted, agreed to a six year contract for John Tavares.
Frans Nielsen could have made public he will not sign here under any circumstances, same for Nabokov/Parenteau.
Garth Snow, for better or worse is sticking to his plan, whether we as fans buy-in, his players have which is another big difference.
I'm sure teams would be very happy to take Tavares, 1st round pick, Moulson, Okposo, Bailey, Grabner, Niederreiter, dehaan, Hamonic, MacDonald, Strome, Nelson or many of the Isles other prospects to revisit the 2001-02 plan.
You don't want a repeat of 2001-02? This is the alternative.
Sure if Snow is going to sprinkle in any vets, they better finally be ones who help, or why bother? Mark Eaton for Hal Gil is not the answer, but that's usually the market.
Zach Parise means sixty million dollars front-loaded, and a check for twenty million dollars to cover 7/1/12 to 7/1/13 as lockout protection.
Many of Milbury's former picks or trades (Bergenheim/Comeau/Tambellini, Gervais, Campoli) did not pan out, they got a long look under Snow, then the team moved on.
Trent Hunter got a five year contract that got huge praise, it did not work out, so he got moved for Rolston, neither move worked out.
Garth Snow's made mistakes within the norm of most general managers, he's also shown he has the ability to identify players who have turned into excellent decisions, which go beyond the record of his many counterparts. He's managed to retain his players with contracts it would be hard to argue have not been smart signings based on salary/term.
2001-02 Differences vs 2011-12:
The NHL is different than it was in in 2001, there were no front-loaded contracts, no cap. Trades happened much more frequently. The UFA age was thirty one, now it can be as early as twenty five.
Locked up vs The Plan:
Those players are all locked in unless you want the 2001 plan.
Both are likely locked in.
Likely will be given long looks in camp.
How much longer can they be kept out of the NHL?
Can they play well enough to earn a spot?
Bottom line, there are not a lot of spots available here.
The UFA market will present a few quality players, but many of the middle-tier defenders will all come with some baggage/downside.
Ultimately, this plan could fail. It's not as strong as the late 90's group of prospects on paper right now. What happened in Florida, Los Angeles, Phoenix, and many other places where it took close to a decade may be how it plays out here.
It's not the first time we have made that point here.
This is all without more major injures to top players.
That's a very bitter reality for a franchise that has not made a serious playoff run since 1993.
Still, at this time it comes down to choices.
The 2001-02 plan or the 2011-12 plan?
I do not wish to see these kids leave until we know.