New York Islanders Sign Josh Bailey $30 Million Contract

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 05: Josh Bailey
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 05: Josh Bailey /

The New York Islanders made the first of a few key moves to address their long-term future. They extended Josh Bailey to a healthy six-year $30 million deal. Rejoice.

We all know that New York Islanders ninth pick in the 2008 NHL draft Josh Bailey had a rough start to his NHL career. And by start, I mean eight years. It took him eight years to fulfill on his billing as a top level offensive player in the NHL.

And by billing, I mean expectations from fans. And by expectations from fans, I mean what we all thought a ninth overall pick that the Islanders traded down to get would produce.

Through his first eight years in the NHL, Josh Bailey didn’t manage more than 41 points in a single season. While 41 points is a good return, it’s not a great return for a top ten overall pick.

But since the 2016-17 season, Josh Bailey has put up 118 points in 140 games. Letting everyone know that he was the winger John Tavares has needed since the start.

Today, Josh Bailey got rewarded for his perseverance and production with a brand new deal.

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Today, February 23rd, it was announced that Josh Bailey had signed a six-year $30 million deal. That’s a $5 million AAV until 2022-23 when Josh Bailey turns 34-years-old.

A $5 million AAV for Josh Bailey who’s on pace for 88 points by years end is a great deal. Facing unrestricted free agency this summer, there’s no doubt that Josh Bailey could have been paid more in the open market.

Bailey wanted nothing more than to stay on Long Island with the team that drafted him. It’s all he’s ever known and it’s likely all he’ll ever know.

But he knows that if there’s ever going to be success on Long Island they’ll need to have enough financial space to keep some of the players they have. Like John Tavares.

It’s not to say that the Isles wouldn’t have had room to resign both Tavares and Bailey. With Jaroslav Halak, Nikolay Kulemin, and Jason Chimera all but certain to be gone in the offseason, the Islanders would have had space to sign both. They just wouldn’t have had too much flexibility afterward.

Saving a million to a million and a half or maybe a bit more per year on Bailey’s deal gives the Isles that extra flexibility to bring in some more help. (If Garth actually goes out and gets it).

Next: The Devils Traded With The Rangers. So Should the Isles.

Extending Josh Bailey is a great nod to Tavares. Being able to show him that His buddy and linemate wants to be here so bad he’ll take a discount is even better. It doesn’t mean Tavares won’t go and see what other teams might offer. But it makes whatever the New York Islanders counter with that much sweeter.