The New York Islanders enter a critical off-season. The organization must show this past season will wind up being a one step back – three steps forward situation. This off-season the Islanders must trade Josh Bailey.
The question is why should the New York Islanders trade Josh Bailey this off-season? After all, he is coming off his best year and is still in the prime of his career (turn 28 in October).
This past season Bailey had a career-high 56 points (13 goals). He gelled well with John Tavares and was the Islanders second leading scorer. Furthermore, Bailey has a great cap number of $3.3 million.
Bailey’s value has never been higher.
Now is the Time
The best time to trade a player is when his value is at its zenith. Currently, that is the case with Bailey, the ninth overall pick of 2008 draft.
While Bailey’s cap number is low his contract ends after next season. He will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st, 2018.
New York Islanders
If Bailey can duplicate this past season in his walk year, he will be looking at a 5-year, $25 million deal from someone.
In today’s NHL salary cap world, Garth Snow and the front office need to pass on that kind of contract for Bailey. Snow should trade Bailey now as part of a package to land a proven second line center.
The Kids are Coming
The biggest reason why Bailey should be moved this off-season is the top Islander forward prospects are coming to the big club very soon. The organization and the fan base already saw the start of that arrival this past season.
Josh Ho-Sang who played in the final 21 games showed he can be a player in the NHL. He put up four goals and 10 points and was a constant presence on the ice. Beauvillier and Ho-Sang will only be better next year.
The Isles top-rated prospect Mathew Barzal (#8 on Hockey News recent Future Watch issue) will be wearing the blue and orange come opening night next season. He is ready to start his NHL career.
Don’t forget about the fifth overall pick in the 2014 draft, Michael Dal Colle. Yes, it’s taking him a little bit longer compared to the others but remember Dal Colle has yet to turn 21.
Finally, the Islanders 2016 first-round pick, Kiefer Bellows looks like he will be a top-six forward at the NHL level. We probably won’t see him with the big club until the 2018-19 season.
In the very near future, these kids along with John Tavares will comprise the Islanders forward core.
Josh Bailey was very productive for the Islanders this past season. But given his contract and the highly skilled kids coming in the organization the time is now for the Isles to trade him.