Despite the disappointing way in which their season ended, it’s pretty clear that this New York Islanders club has a bright future ahead of them. That’s reflected in the core that they’ve established, which saw another member officially added with the new deal for Josh Bailey.
The Islanders and Bailey agreed to a new five-year contract for the restricted free agent forward. The five-year deal will carry a cap hit of $3.3 million, keeping him on Long Island through the 2017-18 season. The former ninth overall pick firmly established himself as a key piece for this Isles club.
It hasn’t been without growing pains, as Bailey has struggled mightily at times after he was initially rushed. But the 2013 season provided some insight as to the type of player the he can be for the Isles, which is why they locked him up.
Bailey’s 0.5 scoring rate in 2013 was the best of his career, with 19 points in 38 games overall. Eleven of those points were goals, and he finished with a plus-7 rating. He built on a solid regular season with a strong postseason, with three assists in six games and a minus-1 rating.
Bailey was particularly strong towards the end of the regular season, with 10 of his 19 points coming in April, including a four-game point streak. A solid first season for a guy who played out on the wing, after playing most of the first four seasons of his career in the middle.
This deal establishes Bailey as a key member of the core of this team. He isn’t going to put up a ton of points like John Tavares or Matt Moulson will, but he’s a source of secondary scoring. His upside should be reflected in the years that follow with this new contract, as we haven’t quite seen where his game can go to this point. But this deal should pan out to be a good one for the Islanders.