On the eve of training camp, Josh Bailey and the New York Islanders have reached a two-year agreement that will pay the 21-year-old forward a total of $2.1 million. Anyone who was holding their breath that Bailey and the Isles wouldn’t be able to get a deal done in time for training camp can now breathe a sigh of relief. Needless to say, this wasn’t like any of the other restricted free agent negotiations around the league.
Most teams and restricted free agents have rather flexible deadlines for getting a deal done before the season. Obviously, it’s best to get a deal done sooner than later, but they are unbound by artificial due dates that dictate the process. Some teams and players are able to reach an agreement during the previous season. Some get it done during the dead of the offseason and some get it done as training camp approaches. Still, they get it done whenever it works best for the GM and the player.
Josh Bailey and the New York Islanders didn’t have that luxury. Katie Strang explains:
“Per Islanders team policy, any player unsigned by the start of training camp forfeits the entire season while the team retains his rights.
And it was no empty threat.
The Islanders exercised the aforementioned policy with Finnish winger Sean Bergenheim in 2006. Unwilling to accept what the Islanders were offering him, Bergenheim was forced to play the 2006-07 season in Europe.”
The new deal comes with a $1.05 cap hit per season for the Islanders. To put that in perspective, Bailey is the 10th highest forward on the team—making about 200k less than P.A. Parenteau this season. Yet at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter. His NHL salary surely looks a lot better than Sean Bergenheim’s European contract in 2006.
The Islanders have been busy over the last few days. It was widely reported that the team and superstar-in-making John Tavares reached an agreement on Wednesday—a deal he signed on Thursday afternoon. Afterwards, the team turned their attention to a more pressing matter as they worked to hammer out Bailey’s contract. One may question the order in which they signed the former first round draft picks, but the team was able to get both players under contract before training camp started. All’s well that ends well.
Now that the off-ice issues of the offseason are finally behind them, the Isles organization can look forward to molding their young players into a competitive team. Bailey may not be a star on the team, but he provides decent depth and will use the next few years to mature into a productive NHL player for the future. If he can improve on that 29 point average he’s put up over his career, the next contract will make $2.1 million look like a stepping stone.
Right. Because $2.1 million is a stepping stone nowadays.
This past week Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby became the 86th player in league history to record 1,000 points in the NHL when he assisted on a Chris Kunitz goal in a win over the Winnipeg Jets. He is the 11th youngest player to reach the milestone, doing so at age 29 and making an already massive accomplishment that much more impressive when you consider the low scoring era he has played in.
Before Sunday afternoon’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, the Penguins’ first home game since Crosby reached the 1,000 point mark on Thursday night, the team honored with a pre-game ceremony that included a golden stick and a plaque made out of the roof of the old Civic Arena, the building in Pittsburgh that Crosby played in for the first five years of his career.
Check out the ceremony in the video above.
This season Crosby is second in the NHL scoring race with 64 points in 51 games, trailing Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid by three points (McDavid has played in eight more games). Crosby also leads the league with 31 goals entering play on Sunday.
More: Sidney Crosby records 1,000th career point
The New York Rangers are on some kind of a roll right now.
They were winners for the seventh time in their past eight games thanks to their 2-1 win over the Washington Capitals on Sunday afternoon and have now won 10 of their past 13 games to put a pretty massive gap between them and the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference (they are now 13 points ahead of Boston).
Ryan McDonagh and Mats Zuccarello provided the offense on Sunday afternoon, with Zuccarello’s third period goal — his 12th of the season — going in the books as the game-winner.
It was also another strong day for Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist as he continues to regain his form after a tough first half of the season. With Sunday’s 29-save performance he has now won nine of his past 12 starts since Jan. 18. During that stretch he has allowed two goals or less in eight of those starts and has an overall save percentage of .936 during that stretch.
The crazy thing about this run for the Rangers is that for as good as they have been, and for as many wins as they have stacked up in recent weeks, they are still in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division and relegated to a wild card spot because the three teams ahead of them (Washington, Pittsburgh, Columbus) keep collecting points. The Rangers are still two points back of the Blue Jackets (and if Columbus wins on Sunday night, it would be back to four points).
Just for some perspective on that, if they were in the Atlantic Division they would have a seven point lead. They would have a one-point lead over San Jose. They would be in second place in the Central.
For the Capitals, Sunday’s game was their second loss in a row coming out of their bye week after they dropped a 3-2 shootout decision in Detroit on Saturday.
It is the first time the Capitals have dropped consecutive games since Dec. 27 and 29. It is only the sixth time it has happened all season. They have lost more than two games in a row just once this season and never more than three in a row.
The Ottawa Senators have a chance to move into a tie for first place in the Atlantic Division on Sunday evening if they can beat the Winnipeg Jets.
If they are going to do it they will have to do so without the services of forward Bobby Ryan.
The team announced on Sunday afternoon, less than three hours before puck drop against the Jets, that Ryan is going to be sidelined indefinitely due to a hand injury pending further evaluation.
The team says Ryan was injured in the third period of Saturday’s win over Toronto when he was hit in the hand by a puck.
In 50 games this season Ryan has 12 goals and 12 assists. He has been going through a bit of a scoring slump in recent weeks with only three points in his past eight games. He has also registered just 14 shots on goal during that stretch, including a pair of games where he failed to register even one.
The Senators enter play on Saturday just two points behind Montreal in the Atlantic Division. A win over the Jets would move them into a tie and, for the time being, give them the tiebreaker edge due to having played in fewer games.
The NBC Networks quadruple header of NHL action on Hockey Day In America continues on Sunday afternoon in Pittsburgh when the Penguins host the Detroit Red Wings.
The Penguins enter the game coming off of an overtime loss in Columbus on Friday night and continue to play through some injuries with Conor Sheary, Bryan Rust, Olli Maatta and Justin Schultz all sidelined at the moment.
They remain in second place in the Metropolitan Division and have not lost a game in regulation since Jan. 26. They have gone 6-0-3 since, collecting 15 of 19 points in the standings.
On Sunday afternoon they get a Red Wings team that was a 3-2 shootout winner over the Washington Capitals on Saturday. The Red Wings beat the Penguins in Detroit more than a month ago.
Game time is 3 p.m. ET. You can catch all of the action on NBC or on our Live Stream.
Click here for the Live Stream
Hockey Day In American Quadruple Header