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.


  1. […] ISLANDERS POINT BLANK: Chris Botta reports the NY Islanders are still working on a new contract with RFA forward Josh Bailey. Botta believes it’s still too early to be concerned about this situation, though he did suggest there could be cause for concern if he’s still unsigned after Labor Day, especially if the other notable unsigned RFAs around the league (Drew Doughty, Brad Marchand, Luke Schenn, Zach Bogosian) are re-signed by then. The club hasn’t given up on Bailey and no one has given up on these negotiations. […]

  2. […] Chris Botta of NYI Point Blank: Islanders forward Josh Bailey still remains unsigned with 3 weeks to go before the start of training camp. Bailey is with Newport Sports Management, who also have unsigned RFAs Drew Doughty, Luke Schenn and Brad Marchand. The Isles haven’t given up on Bailey or the negotiations. […]

  3. […] without arbitration rights; and it’s not like teams are knocking down his door with offer sheets. Chris Botta from Islanders Point Blank outlines three specific reasons why it’s way too early to worry about the Islanders and Josh Bailey’s contract negotiations: 1. […]

  4. […] that Isles owner Charles Wang has a curious protocol that says if an RFA isn’t signed by camp he’s not going to play for them that season and won’t get a deal. The Isles are going to be a good, tough team to play and Bailey is going to be a factor in that. […]

  5. […] Islanders owner Charles Wang seems like a free and easy going guy, but if you want to play for the Islanders and you’re one of his restricted free agents, you’d better have a contract signed by the time training camp starts or else. As Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank pointed out back on August 25, Wang’s policy is that if an RFA is unsigned by the start of camp, negotiations are over and done with and the player will sit out the entire season. […]