The New York Islanders and RFA Josh Bailey avoided some heavy drama by reaching an agreement in advance of the team’s 7 AM Friday deadline. According to Katie Strang of ESPN, the team has signed Bailey to a two-year $2.1 million deal.
The former first round pick (9th overall, 2008) comes at a discount for the Islanders, who had infamously demoted him to Bridgeport of the AHL at one point last season, but he projects as their third/second line centre this season.
The last minute deal lets the Isles elude a messy situation like the one they experienced with Sean Bergenheim back in 2006. Bergenheim fled for Lokomotiv of the KHL, skating in all of nine games there before playing out the 2006-07 season with Frolunda HC of the SEL, while tensions between himself and Garth Snow/Charles Wang subsided. He would return to the Islanders in 2007.
With Bailey and Luke Schenn signing the dotted line late Thursday, only Drew Doughty and Kyle Turris are left as notable RFAs still waiting on new deals. It could be a while before either gets something in place.