November 24, 2010
Between firing their coach and banishing a blogger, the New York Islanders have made their share of shocking headlines recently. So, in keeping with that tradition, they announced today that forward Josh Bailey(notes), a third-year veteran and former No. 9 overall pick (2008), is on loan to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL.
Or, as Leahy said in consideration of the Islanders' plight: "It's a promotion, really ..."
Bailey, 21, has six points (three goals, three assists) in 18 games this season with the Islanders. In 159 career NHL games, all with the Islanders, the Bowmanville, ON, native has scored 66 points (26 goals, 40 assists). The Islanders selected Bailey in the first round, ninth overall, of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. Last year, the 6-1, 201 pound forward set career highs in games (73), goals (16), assists (19) and points (35) while leading the Islanders with a plus-five rating.
Lighthouse Hockey readers gave Bailey around a 7 for his grade last season.
He was getting his shot this season: 18:46 total average ice time, and 3:18 per game on the power play. Here's Chris Botta's take on the demotion:
Gutsy move by Garth Snow, who has watched Bailey go pointless in 13 games despite major ice time. A step back for Bailey, who was rushed as an 18-year-old by the Islanders, but he's a mature young man who can handle this.
It's a kick in the ass for Bailey, and a necessary one. He bulked up over the summer, but hasn't found his offensive groove yet. And Botta's right: If anyone can take this as a turning point, it's Bailey. From CBC Sports, earlier this month:
"If I looked at it from the standpoint of my first training camp to my second and now my third, I've grown so much as a person. You're a kid when you come in and the second year you're a man, you know how to carry yourself. You definitely mature very quickly [as a young NHLer] and it leads to more results on the ice."
Sure, it's an offensively starved team demoting a potential top-six forward to the AHL. Taken in context with the Islanders other moves, you can almost hear the carnival music. But Snow clearly sees this as a moment of salvation for one of the franchise's top young players; he'll be back.