The New York Islanders tend to do business a little differently, given that they operate with an internal budget of “the salary floor.” They tend to buy low on players like Brad Boyes who have talent and reason to have successful NHL seasons (Peter Regin this season PM Bouchard as well), and they tend to buy low on their own internal talent for an extended period of time, hoping that the players will sign for near-nickels for the safety of getting paid for multiple years. Andrew MacDonald and Frans Nielsen are both good examples of that.
Really, if you toss out the DiPietro deal with is universally regarded as a Charles Wang decision, Garth Snow hasn’t really missed on one of these gambles yet. So today he went for it again, signing 23-year old Josh Bailey to a five-year $16 million deal (via Katie Strang). The hope, as always, is that with the rising salary cap Bailey becomes a bargain of a top-9 forward.
I’m a little surprised Bailey was given over three-per, but I don’t see this as a massive risk for a guy who is likely going to play decent minutes with good players over the next five years. I could see this one being the first one Snow misses on, because there are some talented young players in the Islanders system (Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome spring to mind) that I can see pushing him down the depth chart, but I did see flashes of real NHL talent towards the end of last season (I think his ceiling is still fairly high), so I’m not ready to pull out my hair as an Isles fan about it just yet. Bailey’s a bit of a risk, but when a GM’s success rate gets high enough on similar deals, I think it’s fair to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Here’s Snow’s statement:
“Josh has become an important member of the young core of the players we have in our dressing room. 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.”