After finding a way to stay in the press for most of the summer, the Islanders should have little in the way of hard news before the team leaves for training camp in Moncton on Sept. 19. But there could be one last major item on Garth Snow’s agenda.
It would make sense on a lot of levels for the GM to close a deal with first round pick Josh Bailey prior to the opening of camp. Draft picks do not apply to the same rule as our children. In the NHL, your draft picks are not all loved equally. Signing Bailey before he hits the ice in Moncton would send a message, especially to Bailey himself.
There’s a lot riding on Bailey, whom the team feels even better about after the kid spent a long time on and off the ice on Long Island post-draft. To a lot of eyes, the Islanders moved a few mountains (and grabbed a few extra picks) in taking the skilled two-way center with exceptional leadership qualities (darn, can’t get that PR stuff outta my head!) It’s only natural they would attempt to show the same respect towards Bailey as other teams have lavished on their recent prized first picks. Tampa Bay has signed Steven Stamkos, LA Drew Doughty. Continuing in neat order, Atlanta is ready to speak with No. 3 pick Zack Bogosian.
Of course, the Islanders do not have to wait for all of the first eight picks to sign before they ink their boy. For a deal with Bailey, the salary cap does most of the work. It mostly comes down to bonuses. There is also no downside to the gesture of committing early to their prized prospect. If he does not make the team – I don’t think you can rule that out with 100% certainty, at least for October – the three-year contract simply begins when Bailey becomes a regular pro.
The Islanders have done this before with first rounders. Don’t be surprised to hear about a Bailey deal sometime between Labor Day and the start of training camp.