Can the NY Islanders buyout Josh Bailey?
While the New York Islanders are hoping to make the NHL Playoffs this season there will be some interesting off-season decisions to make for Lou Lamoriello. One of them is whether or not the Isles should buy out Josh Bailey this summer.
Even with Mathew Barzal out of the lineup, Bailey finds himself as the 13th forward and watching from the press box. That is not a good sign for him when you look at next season and what his possible role could be.
Bailey who will turn 34 in early October, will be entering the last year of his current contract. He is slated to be on the Islander books with a $5 million cap hit.
Bailey has been a regular with the Isles since the 2008-09 season and has played 1,054 regular season games donning the Islander logo. Bailey is just six games away from tieing Dennis Potvin on the Isle's all-time games played list at 1,060 (Bryan Trottier is #1 with 1,123). Saying Bailey is an Islander is an understatement.
In assessing whether or not the Isles should buy out Bailey this summer there are three major factors. What would Bailey's role be, how would the Islanders use the cap savings, and are any of the Isle's forward prospects going to be ready sometime next season?
Let's start with if the Islanders bought out Bailey what would that look like from a cap standpoint? As stated if Bailey is on the team next season his cap hit would be $5 million. However, if the Isles were to buy him out this summer his cap hit would be $2.67 million which would be a cap savings of $2.33 million. That savings could be quite useful such as resigning Scott Mayfield. Keep in mind if Bailey were to be bought out there would be a cap hit of $1.167 million for the 2024-25 season and then he would be off the books.
As mentioned even with the current injuries Bailey finds himself watching the games from the press box as the 13th forward. This means if Barzal were healthy and playing, Bailey would be the 14th forward. If that is his role moving forward does it make any sense for the Isles or Bailey to have him on the roster?
Finally, the Isles do have a couple of young promising forward prospects in Bridgeport who could force themselves into the lineup sometime next season. William Dufour (Isles #1 Prospect) and Ruslan Iskhakov are showing they are not that far away from the show with how they are playing in the AHL for Bridgeport.
Sentimental given Bailey's history with the Isles organization one does not want to see it end with a buyout. However, just like anyone's working career with a long-term relationship with an organization sometimes it doesn't end the way you want.
If Bailey is bought out this summer he should be remembered as an Islander who played with the team a long-time, was a good player, and gave everything he got on and off the ice.