ISLANDERS, BAILEY STILL WORKING ON A DEALAn update on the RFA's contract negotiations

It’s August 25th. Do you know where Josh Bailey’s second professional contract is?

Bailey remains unsigned, and that’s a little bit of a surprise. Islanders training camp begins in three weeks, so this is a good time to review what we know about Bailey, the Islanders and the state of his very restricted free agency.

1. Josh Bailey, 22 on Oct. 2, loves being an Islander and appreciates the opportunity the organization has provided him since he was drafted 9th overall in 2008. The Islanders like the forward just as much, see him as part of their nucleus, are confident his skills will lead to major contributions on the ice and respect his maturation away from the playing surface. Both sides want to get a deal done.

2. Although Garth Snow did a masterful job getting the older and more accomplished Michael Grabner and Kyle Okposo under long-term contracts with cap-friendly terms, Bailey is in a different boat. The first contract after his just-completed ELC will likely be for a shorter term.

3. Several RFAs have yet to come to terms with their clubs on their second pro deals, including Drew Doughty, Zach Bogosian, Luke Schenn, Bruins playoff hero Brad Marchand and skilled Coyotes rush-job Kyle Turris. It is worth noting that Doughty, Schenn, Marchand and Bailey are all represented by the respected Newport Sports Management.

If Bailey remains unsigned after Labor Day in two weeks, and his fellow RFAs have finalized contracts, then there would be cause for concern. Don’t forget Charles Wang’s rule going back to the days of Zdeno Chara and Brad Isbister: if an Islanders player is not signed by the first day of training camp, he will not play for the Islanders and will not receive a contract for the season.

However, it is way too early to be concerned about ultimatums. There is trust and respect on both sides.

The Islanders know what Bailey did in the opening weeks of the 2010-11 NHL season, producing at a Stamkosian pace while centering a line with Blake Comeau and P. A. Parenteau. Bailey struggled after returning from injury and was sent to Bridgeport by Snow one NHL game before he would have been mandated by the CBA to clear waivers.

While Bailey was inconsistent in the second half of the season, often playing out of position and on makeshift lines, the Islanders remember their young player’s positive attitude and superb play during his three weeks in the American Hockey League. Although Bailey had plenty of NHL experience as a teenager, not many players his age dominate what is arguably the world’s second-best league with 6 goals and 11 assists for 17 points in just 11 games.

For good reason, the Islanders have not given up on Josh Bailey and no one has given up on these negotiations. As the team embarks on its first season with genuine promise in four years, having everyone on board is crucial.

Anything but a peaceful resolution before Sept. 15 would be a profound disappointment for both sides.

As always, comments on this particular subject only are welcomed in this thread. Thank you.