New York Islanders John Tavares’ contract is up at the end of next season. The Islanders could have started negotiating with Tavares as of July 1, 2017, on a new deal. As we wait for him to sign we have to remember there are other players that have expiring deals, including Josh Bailey.
New York Islanders ninth overall draft pick from the 2008 NHL Draft, Josh Bailey is at the end of his contract with the team. Bailey’s in his last season of a three-year $3.3 million AAV before and ready to hit free agency in July of 2018.
We all know that the deal the Islanders need to sign is the one with John Tavares. In terms of priorities for the team, the Tavares deal is numbers one and three (number two being the arena). Bailey isn’t on that list. But there’s still a team to run so other deals getting done shouldn’t surprise anyone.
Why Bailey? Well if we’re all being honest it’s hard to see the team letting Bailey simply walk in free agency. I understand that he’s drawn the ire of many fans. And that’s fair. But deep down you know that signing Bailey to an extension fits right in with this management groups M.O.
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And I wouldn’t begrudge the Isles for it. Depending on the cost and term.
I’m ok with the Isles keeping Bailey at a reasonable price point, but I’m more inclined to signing him to a reasonable price point and flipping him in a trade. Maximize the return on Bailey by cashing in on that 56 point season we all foresee not happening again. So how do can that be facilitated?
What’s A Reasonable Price Point?
Josh Bailey is going to get a raise. Stephen Gionta got a raise, although his will pale in comparison to the one Bailey is likely to receive. Josh Bailey won’t sign for less than $3.3 million AAV.
That much should be clear. With his production, last season Bailey certainly produced at a rate that should carry a higher cap hit. The issue revolves around how likely Bailey’s going to repeat that production in 2017-18 and for the remainder of said contract.
How about $4 million AAV? Remember, the goal here is to get Bailey at a cap hit that he’ll not only want to sign but that also makes him valuable to other teams via trade by not being cumbersome on their salary cap.
What does the market look like? The best comparable to Bailey I could find using Cap Friendly’s Comparables tool, was Montréal Canadiens Andrew Shaw at a 98.8% comparability. I based my search strictly on the number of games played and the number of points scored.
New York Islanders
(Note: I put all cap related “Component Importance” fades to 0 and the games and points one to ten each)
There are other players on the list that rank highly, but their contracts were signed over two years ago. The market’s changed since then.
Both are clearly two different types of player. Bailey having the potential for a higher offensive ceiling than Andrew Shaw. Andrew Shaw signed a six-year $3.9 million deal with the Habs in June of 2016. Just over a year ago. Don’t get fixated on the term. We’ll get to that.
If Andrew Shaw, with similar production over a similar length of time, can get $3.9 million AAV, so could Josh Bailey.
That 56 point season is going to be the outlier that Bailey and his agent hang their hats on and shoot for the moon, a-la Calvin de Haan.
For the team, they’ll want to lower the risk of over paying a guy that could very well regress back to the mean. Between $3.6 to $4 million seems fair, depending on the duration.
How About Duration?
At 27-years-old Josh Bailey should just be in the prime of his career, production wise. But we still don’t know the caliber of player Bailey actually is. Is he that 30-40 point guy, or is he a 50+ point player?
Anything above five years should be out of the question. With a player like Andrew Shaw, the Canadiens knew what they were getting and knew what they were going to use him for. With Josh Bailey, the verdict isn’t clear.
A three-year deal seems like the minimum the team and player would go for. Anything less and his pending free agency becomes an eyesore to any potential “buyer”. Which is what I want to avoid. The team will want a four-year deal, taking bailey into his 30’s and keeping a potential 50+ point player under $4 million. Cost containment.
Bailey will want three, enough to prove his worth over the course of the deal and take him to a sweet-sweet free agent pay day at the age of 31.
My prediction on the Bailey deal, whenever they happen to come to an agreement is three years at $4 million AAV for a total of $12 million total. Anything more either in cost or term is the team taking on more risk than they need. And might just scare off potential teams who see Bailey as a cheap top six option.