It remains difficult to comprehend the process and timing of the so-called evaluation period that Islanders ownership claims to be in, and how they failed to reach any conclusions by the end of two sad seasons.
The only thing for certain is that it has now been more than two weeks since Jon Ledecky's public promise of action to the club's fans.
"The season has just ended," Ledecky said in reading a prepared statement on April 9, although the season had really ended months earlier. "As an organization, we will be evaluating all aspects of our hockey operations - and then we will make decisions based on what is best for the future of our club. I am not here today to talk specifically about any individuals - including the players, coaches and the general manager. We believe it is essential to our success to have a thoughtful evaluation process, to look at the past, and more importantly, to assess the future of our team on and off the ice."
That moment will forever be regarded as one of the most clueless in recent New York sports history, but let's look ahead. While Garth Snow curiously remains employed by the Islanders, ownership has the opportunity to request permission to interview several outstanding candidates to run and elevate their team's hockey operations.
In alphabetical order, some of the qualified people include:
Steve Yzerman's right-hand man with the oft-contending Lightning is viewed as the next in line to become general manager of the Canadiens. But with Habs ownership giving Marc Bergevin a little more time - be assured, they're not giving Bergevin eight years, let alone twelve - BriseBois, regarded as one of the brightest people in the game, is available this spring to the Islanders.
The Islanders could have acted quickly and moved to speak with the longtime Nashville assistant GM, but it appears they're on the outside looking in. The Minnesota Wild, who fired Chuck Fletcher on Monday, are moving decisively and Fenton is atop their list.
In his time with the Penguins and now as assistant GM of the Devils, Fitzgerald has spent the last decade learning from Ray Shero. He is regarded as one of the top GM prospects in the league. This clip of Fitzgerald discussing the Devils' moves at this year's trade deadline is a strong illustration of the insight and energy the former Islander has always had.
With Shero entrenched in New Jersey, Fitzgerald is available to the Islanders now.
The former Owen Sound (OHL) GM has spent the last dozen years as an invaluable contributor to the Kings, winning two Stanley Cups under Dean Lombardi. Futa rebuilt LA's scouting staff, served as VP of hockey operations and director of player personnel, and is now the assistant GM under Rob Blake. Many around the NHL believe it is only a matter of time before Futa gets his first GM job.
Islanders ownership has not yet asked for permission from the Penguins to speak with Guerin, a passionate and intelligent leader who has played a massive role in the Penguins' success since Guerin became an executive with the team in 2011. Guerin has learned from both Shero and Jim Rutherford - two very different Cup-winning managers.
Guerin and staff continue to draft, develop, and acquire the right complementary pieces around Pittsburgh's veteran stars - something the Islanders failed to do in the first nine years in the NHL career of John Tavares.
The Hall of Fame architect of the New Jersey Devils has served as GM of the rising Maple Leafs the last three years - rebuilding them quickly - but Lamoriello has always preferred to run his own show. That's not the case in Toronto, but if offered the keys to the Islanders with complete authority and autonomy, it would be a surprise if Lamoriello did not accept.
His son, Chris, is currently the Islanders' assistant GM. At 75, Lamoriello could fix the Islanders over the next few years before possibly handing them over to his son.
Hired by Los Angeles after being passed up by Charles Wang in the Smith/Snow summer of 2006, Lombardi went on to lead the Kings to Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014. Not unlike Bill Torrey in the post-dynasty era, Lombardi's downfall after the 2014 Cup was a result of fierce, often-misguided loyalty.
Still, the intelligent Lombardi has learned from his errors, and deserves another shot at building a franchise. He spent the last year advising GM Ron Hextall in the Flyers' return to the playoffs. Arthur Staple of the Athletic has cited a source declaring that Lombardi is not interested in joining the Islanders. Like Lamoriello, Lombardi would be turned off by ownership's strange first two seasons in charge, and what seems to be an even odder loyalty to Snow despite his epic failings.
Know this about Lombardi: He would completely change the culture of disorganization, lack of accountability, and excuse-making instilled by Snow.
Ledecky watched his friend George McPhee, who joined the Islanders as a consultant for one year, depart to accomplish more in the first year of the Las Vegas Golden Knights than Snow has in twelve seasons. The universally-respected McCrimmon - who was at McPhee's side for every brilliant chess move over the last year - will not move east unless he is given full control of the Islanders, so at this point he's a long shot.
If ownership really was determined to be "world-class" instead of just talking about it, they'd make a bold move for McCrimmon.
The widely-liked current assistant GM of the Blue Jackets could catch the eye of Ledecky and Malkin because he is a former agent. Although the Blue Jackets made the playoffs, he was selected by USA Hockey in March to be the GM of the men's national team for this year's World Championships.
Of course, there is also the school of thought that Ledecky and Scott Malkin do not have the stomach to remove Snow or fulfill their pledge to upgrade the hockey operations department. On April 9, in his press briefing without Q & A, and after promising a complete evaluation of team staff, Ledecky told the media, "We will be talking again in the coming weeks and months."
Let's see about that.