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SportsColumnistsArthur Staple

Sliding Islanders seem to be staying the course with GM Garth Snow — for now

Owners Jon Ledecky and and Scott Malkin stuck with him after the Isles missed the playoffs last season, but what happens if they miss again?

Islanders general manager Garth Snow remembers Al Arbour

Islanders general manager Garth Snow remembers Al Arbour during a memorial service at the Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow on Aug. 29, 2016. Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Garth Snow is in his 12th year as Islanders general manager. With the Isles banged up and sliding to a second straight season outside the playoffs, it’s fair to wonder whether his job as GM and team president is secure.

Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky declined to comment on any hockey operations matters without knowing what questions Newsday wanted to ask. However, it already was clear how Ledecky and partner Scott Malkin feel about Snow and head coach/assistant GM Doug Weight. We found out in April.

That was the end of the 2016-17 season, one that ended with a furious rally that fell a point short of a playoff berth. Weight still had the interim tag as coach and Snow finished a seventh season of his 11 at the helm without a playoff berth.

Ledecky and Malkin had just wrapped a year of their “listening tour,” speaking to any number of retired players, agents and former executives about the state of the Isles and a possible role as head of hockey operations.

After all that, Malkin and Ledecky chose to stick with Snow, who has what’s believed to be five years remaining on his contract. The owners also chose to go with Weight, making him the permanent coach after a 24-12-7 run to close the season.

There were plenty of available options last spring. Dean Lombardi had just been let go by the Kings. Former player and current Rangers exec Brad Richards was one of the people with whom Ledecky spoke.

But the owners stayed the course. Perhaps they felt it would give the team a stronger position with John Tavares. Maybe they didn’t want to start over while also buying out so many years of Snow’s deal.

Maybe they didn’t feel comfortable starting from scratch with so much riding on this season — Tavares, a new arena and talks with Barclays Center about the short-term future of the Isles.

Whatever the reasons, they made that choice nine months ago, and it would be hard to see Malkin and Ledecky reversing course and scrapping the front office midway through a season that’s turned into a grind but is hardly over.

They have achieved their biggest goal, which is the Isles’ new home at Belmont. Their next goal, a Tavares extension, still is up in the air and likely will be until the summer, but the captain has not told the team anything about his future.

So it’s fair to wonder about Snow’s future. If this season ends in the lottery again, it would be hard to see Malkin and Ledecky standing pat.

But for now? The owners already made that call in April.

New York Sports