Bailey Headed For Showdown


Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Garth Snow has done such a fabulous job thus far in the off-season for the New York Islanders, drafting heavy shooting Ryan Pulock, acquiring Cal Clutterbuck from the Minnesota Wild for malcontent Nino Niederreiter and signing Travis Hamonic to a very cap friendly long term contract extension.

But the life of a general manager is not all peaches and cream, as we learned today when it was announced that the team and winger Josh Bailey could not agree to terms on a new contract for the restricted free agent and he has officially filed for arbitration.

Pat Morris, who represents Bailey, has never had a harmonious working relationship with Snow, given the contentious nature of the young forwards last contract extension which has led us to this point. With the only leverage for a player with restricted status being arbitration, it is also a risky move for both involved.

The main goal for the organization is to prove that the player does not deserve what he is asking on his new contract and consequently, usually drags the player’s shortcomings through the mud, sort of speak. On the other hand, the player goes in and tries to sell himself as the next coming of Sidney Crosby in the hopes that the determination is made that he is worth more to the club than they think he might be.

Extensions signed today by Carl Hagelin of the rival New York Rangers (2.25mm) and the recent signing of Clutterbuck (2.75mm) probably put Bailey’s asking price in the 3mm range or thereabout. Personally, I was thinking all along that Bailey would get more to the tune of Hagelin money or a little less (think 2mm-2.25mm). Coming off a productive season of 11-8-19 in 38 games (pro-rated to all be career highs) the 23 year old has always been thought of as part of the future after being selected in the 1st round of the 2008 draft (9th overall).

Having not quite yet lived up to those lofty expectations is expected to hurt Josh in these latest round of negotiations. The other side of the coin is that he could also be dangled as trade bait to acquire a proven talent which Snow has longed for, especially if he was to win the battle in court. Just to throw this out there, but would you deal Bailey, a 1st round pick (likely 15-20) and Calvin DeHaan if it was to bring back a player like Thomas Vanek? Not saying that is anywhere near likely to happen, but an interesting option it does pose.

The Islanders are finally deep enough in the system both at defense and offense that they could start to think about those kinds of scenarios to improve the club quickly and pick off players whose own teams cannot sign due to salary cap constraints.

It certainly provides a bit of drama and intrigue to what has been not just a slowdown but a complete halt to free agency proceedings all around the league.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below and as always, thanks for reading EyesOnIsles.

-AG (@tazman19)