New Mets owner Steve Cohen already taking pages out of Islanders’ owners playbook

Rob Taub

Steve Cohen has owned the New York Mets for more than a week now, and in that time he’s done exactly what a new owner of a professional sports franchise should do: Listen.

He’s listened to the fans, their suggestions and complaints. He’s listened to Sandy Alderson, who he brought back to the organization and was the reason for the success the team had a few years ago. And he’s listened to what will make the Mets feel like a franchise that the fans and players should be proud of.

In doing all that, Cohen has thus taken a page out of the book from another New York-based franchise’ stewards — Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky — who not too long ago had the same goal of leading that woe-be-gone franchise out of the abyss.

When the New York Islanders were in major need of an organization overhaul after the 2017-18 season, a year where the season fell apart after December and the end result was second consecutive year without a postseason appearance, it was Malkin and Ledecky who had finally seen enough. They took it upon themselves to right the ship and bring some much-needed credibility back to the franchise.

And it started at the top.

Out went the old regime with Garth Snow and Doug Weight, in came Lou Lamoriello and Barry Trotz. With that duo at the helm, the Islanders outlook immediately changed, even  with the departure of former captain John Tavares shortly after those changes were made. Two years later, the twosome has helped transform the Isles into one of the top teams in the NHL and a place where players want to play.

All of that was a result of ownership going for the cream of the crop and letting those masters of their class do their jobs while they stood quietly in the background.

Cohen showed he’s already had that thinking.

Immediately after taking full control last Friday, the hedge-fund billionaire had Alderson clean house and rid the franchise of the brain trust the last two years who failed to build a winning team, traded top prospects for retreads, and failed to make the postseason. This shortened season in the summer was considered an even larger failure with the extended playoff format.

But it’s not just on the field product where Cohen wants changes, he wants the image of the entire franchise to change. He’s mirrored Malkin and Ledecky in that aspect as well.

Ledecky is not on social media (there’s been rumors of a burner account), but he’s been extremely forthcoming about talking to as many fans as possible when he would walk the concourses at Nassau Coliseum/Barclays Center during home games. Those conversations have helped put the off-ice dynamic of the Islanders in a whole new light. The proof is already there and will show even more when the team’s new home UBS Arena opens next fall.

Cohen has taken the same route re-establishing his Twitter presence and answered Mets’ fans questions on how to make their experience as fans better was the perfect step to introduce himself and show how committed he is.

Cohen is set to be formally introduced this morning as the team’s new owner but things are changing at 41 Seaver Way just as they did once at 1255 Hempstead Turnpike.

We might not see the full scope of those changes for a few months when spring training begins.

Even so, Cohen has already taken huge steps in the right direction with getting the Mets to the place they should be by using the Islanders’ playbook.