As a New York Islanders fan, I am confused and appalled as to why Josh Bailey is not engulfed in trade rumors. If the Islanders are to re-sign John Tavares at the rumored 15-million dollar per year contract he is rumored to command,, there would be no cap space available for Bailey. His current season causes Bailey to anticipate a pay-day north of five million dollars per year. I understand the Isles want to win now and make a run at the Stanley Cup, yet there is no point for Josh Bailey to still be on this team. He is not in the Islanders long term option and it is impossible to keep Tavares and Bailey. Josh Bailey has had a remarkable season and his rise to all-star status has been great to watch. Unfortunately for Bailey, it makes too much sense to trade him.
This offseason, the New York Islanders will have to address John Tavares, Josh Bailey (if he is not traded), Calvin De Haan, Thomas Hickey, Jaroslav Halak, Jason Chimera, Nikolay Kulemin, and Dennis Seidenberg since they are all free agents. In my past article, Should I Stay or Should I Go, I discussed how much each player will be paid and who should leave the team. It is impossible to sign every player at market value and stay under the salary cap.
At the trade deadline, the Isles could receive a first round pick from a team trying to make the playoffs or push for the Stanley Cup for Bailey. Many NHL teams are looking for an all-star winger to improve their offense with the player twelfth in the league in points, tied with Alexander Ovechkin and Connor McDavid (while playing less games). The Islanders should not acquire a player in return who has a cap hit past this season due to the fact that the Islanders need to keep salary cap space available.
The New York Islanders should talk to teams on the outside looking in on the playoff race in the effort to get a better draft pick this season. This years’ NHL Draft is considerably deeper than last, and having three picks within the first round could be a game changer for the Islanders franchise. The Colorado Avalanche, Anaheim Ducks, and Chicago Blackhawks all fit this bill. It would make a lot of sense for the Ducks or Hawks to discuss a trade because their team is made to win now. Both teams are not getting any younger, they need to make another run at the grand prize. There are also teams inside the playoffs that are in need of higher point production are the Minnesota Wild, Dallas Stars, Los Angeles Kings, and San Jose Sharks. Every single one of these teams are constructed with the present in mind. Each organization is looking at the Stanley Cup and can greatly increase their chances with the acquisition of Josh Bailey. I would rather trade with a team fighting to make the playoffs because if the pick gets into the lottery, anything could happen. Last year’s draft saw the Flyers and Devils rise into the top two from projected picks in the early teen’s.
All in all, Josh Bailey must be introduced in trade talks.
The New York Islanders should not discuss trades within the Eastern Conference. The Islanders are in a tight playoff race and they should not improve the hopes of the teams that they are fighting against. Philadelphia, Columbus, and Carolina would fit the parameters for a blockbuster trade, but they are in the Metropolitan Division. The only way I would accept a deal within the same conference would be if the Isles acquired larger assets then that in a trade with a Western Conference club.
A case for re-signing Josh Bailey would be that it is very hard for the Islanders to sign top tier free agents. The stadium situation, the market size, and many other factors make it difficult to sign top players. If the Islanders have an advantage in signing a great player, why would the give up the opportunity to sign him? The New York Islanders need to look at their salary cap situation and analyze how they could stay under the salary cap and keep the team in a great situation. Keeping Josh Bailey does not fit into this equation.
Josh Bailey has grown into a great player in an Islanders uniform over the past two seasons. The team will miss seeing him in the locker room, but he must go at the trade deadline. If Garth Snow has a chance to improve this club and not add to their salary, the trade must happen. Bailey needs to go!