The New York Islanders have made a habit out of signing their young players to longer, team-friendly deals, a habit that has begun to show signs of paying off. They're trying it again with restricted free-agent forward Josh Bailey.
Bailey and the Isles agreed on a new five-year contract, announcing it on Monday. The contract will pay Bailey $16.5 million, or $3.3 million per season, according to Katie Strang of ESPN New York.
It's a little bit higher than I expected that we'd see for Bailey, but it's certainly not unreasonable. And if Bailey continues to progress, it could look like another great deal for GM Garth Snow in the coming years. Still, for a player who hasn't surpassed 35 points in a season yet, that's a pretty nice salary.
It also means the club and Bailey avoid a headache and won't be heading to salary arbitration. Instead, the 23-year-old is signed with the team for the next half-decade, keeping the young core together as the Isles grow before our very eyes.
"Josh has become an important member of the young core of the players we have in our dressing room," 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, the ninth overall pick in the 2008 draft by the Islanders, is coming off a productive season, one that probably would have produced career numbers in a full 82-game schedule. He had 11 goals and eight assists in 38 games, just five goals off his career best of 16.
Bailey was drafted as a centerman and had been playing down the middle until this season, when he saw much less time in the middle and more on the wings. Faceoffs were never a strong suit in his game, so perhaps a move to the wing is best. It certainly didn't hurt his goal scoring.
Earlier this month, the Islanders signed defenseman Travis Hamonic to a seven-year extension.