Josh Bailey signed a 5-year contract extension (worth $16.5 million) with the New York Islanders on Monday, which is pretty amazing when you consider where he was three years ago.
He was 21 years old, having been rushed to the NHL as an 18 year old by the struggling Isles after being taken ninth overall in 2008. It wasn’t working for him, as Bailey was mired in a pointless (literally) 13-game stretch. So GM Garth Snow demoted him to the AHL in a shocking move at the time.
He played 11 games there before returning to the Isles. In the following two seasons, Bailey’s play improved; last season, he hit a career high in points per game average (0.50) and goals per game (0.29) in 38 appearances for the Islanders.
Now he has a spiffy 5-year contract extension, as the sides avoid arbitration. From the Islanders:
“Josh has become an important member of the young core of the players we have in our dressing room,” Islanders General Manager Garth Snow said. “We’re excited to come to terms with him on a deal that will ensure he is a member of this team as we solidify ourselves as consistent playoff contenders.”
Bailey’s cap hit averages out to $3.3 million, which slots him as the Islanders’ second biggest cap hit among forwards behind John Tavares. There will be those who don’t like that term. There will be those who don’t like the money, ignoring that Bailey had Clarke MacArthur’s numbers last season and is now making $50,000 more than him annually.
Snow’s wagering on Bailey’s continued improvement, and it’s a smart bet at this price.