Last minute deal: Josh Bailey signs two-year deal for $2.1 million

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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.

Rangers’ losing streak continues with OT defeat vs. Penguins

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The New York Rangers needed a win.

Their slow start is among the surprises early this season, as the Rangers have now lost four in a row with only one win to their record through seven games so far. They’ve had trouble scoring. Mistakes at inopportune moments have been costly.

Facing the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday, the Rangers had a brutal start and a brutal finish in a 5-4 overtime loss to their Metropolitan Division foes.

Phil Kessel scored just 43 seconds into the game, utilizing that dangerous wrist shot off the rush to beat Henrik Lundqvist top corner. By the end of one period, it was 2-0 Pittsburgh.

Despite a second-period comeback, with three goals in under three minutes, and taking the lead in the third period, the Rangers couldn’t hang on and the Penguins won in overtime.

Sidney Crosby scored a crafty tying goal with only 56 seconds remaining in regulation, waiting for the Rangers defender to touch the puck negating what would’ve likely been called a hand pass on Pittsburgh before firing a no-look backhander toward the net from behind the red line. The puck deflected in off Lundqvist, helping send this one to overtime.

Evgeni Malkin capped off a four-point night with the overtime winner.

“Right now it’s a little bit challenging as far as putting a whole game together for us,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault following the game. “But this group is very accountable … and I’m very confident that if we keep doing a lot of the things we’re doing right now, we’re going to be on the right track.”

A trio of Rangers recorded their first goals of the season. That included David Desharnais, Michael Grabner and Pavel Buchnevich, although the latter played less than 10 minutes on Tuesday, despite nearly four minutes in power play time, and of course the goal.

The Rangers host the New York Islanders on Thursday. Another loss, and one has to wonder how hot the seat may be getting under Vigneault.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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Kucherov joins elite company with hot start, but Devils defeat Bolts

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The Nikita Kucherov Show continues.

The Tampa Bay Lightning star forward maintained his torrid pace Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils, scoring his eighth goal of the season — in just his seventh game.

The Bolts took the lead in the second period on goals from Kucherov and Steven Stamkos, but couldn’t hang on and ultimately lost to the Devils (how about this start for New Jersey?) by a score of 5-4 in the shootout.

There is no denying, however, that this has been a special start for the 24-year-old Kucherov and he has joined elite company as a result.

That’s a perfect shot on Cory Schneider.

Read more: Kucherov’s star continues to rise

Kucherov also added an assist on Vladislav Namestnikov‘s beautiful first-period goal. The Devils, though, completed the comeback to continue their strong start to the season, both in wins and goals for. They entered Tuesday’s contest among the league leaders in scoring and surged out to an early lead following a wild five-goal first period.

Drew Stafford opened the scoring for New Jersey and then tied it late in the third period. Kyle Palmieri scored the winner in the shootout.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Sharks

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It’s been a difficult start to the season for both the San Jose Sharks and Montreal Canadiens, however both clubs have an opportunity to change that beginning tonight.

The Sharks host the Habs and you can catch the action on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or via the live stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

Rangers, Sharks need to wake up from early slumps

Canadiens looking to spark, not ‘bury’ Alex Galchenyuk after move to fourth line

It’s early but the Habs are struggling to find the back of the net

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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Video: Nolan Patrick’s sweet drop pass sets up Dale Weise

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That was quite the second period for the Philadelphia Flyers against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday.

The Flyers scored four straight goals to take a commanding lead, but Nolan Patrick put the exclamation point on the frenzied frame with this sweet drop pass to set up Dale Weise for Philadelphia’s fourth goal.

That’s the second assist and third point of the season for the 19-year-old Patrick.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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