New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey has agreed to join Bundesliga side Bietigheim-Bissingen Steelers on a lockout deal, according to the team website.
Bailey, 23, was the Isles’ first-round pick (ninth overall) at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft and jumped immediately to the NHL. As such, he’s already a veteran of four seasons — 291 games, and he only turned 23 in October.
This season promises to be crucial the former OHL Owen Sound standout. He’s in the final year of a two-year, $2.1 million deal signed with the Isles in 2011 and will become a restricted free agent next summer.
Eventually, he’ll need to have a noteworthy offensive breakout. Bailey’s best season came in 2009-10, when he racked up 16G-19A-35PTS in 73 games — since then, his production has tailed slightly and his average ice time plateaued at 15:13 last season. (Though he did appear in a career-high 80 games.)
With Bietigheim-Bissingen, Bailey will play alongside San Jose Sharks forward T.J. Galiardi, who inked with the club in October.