Does Mikkel Boedker Set the Market for Josh Bailey's Contract?

So apparently the "Danish Backhand Bonus" is a myth. It's not even in the CBA.

The short answer is "no," because Josh Bailey is not a Dane, and thus lacks the Frans appeal that glows around Mikkel Boedker's Danish bad self.

The more sincere, less LHH-mythology answer is ... well let's do the Player A vs. Player B thing:

Age GP G A P P/GP TOI +/- Sh%
Player A 21 126 16 29 45 0.36 13:30 +7 9.9
Player B 21 211 34 54 88 0.42 16:10 -22 11.8

Islanders fans know who Player B is based on those 211 games played. Bailey was put in the NHL from the get go -- though a training camp injury in 2008 inadvertently helped -- and he's racked up games ever since, only doing a cursory stint in the AHL this past season right before he'd have required waivers to do so.

Ah, but Boedker (Player A) was also thrust into the NHL in 2008-09, logging 78 games the same year he was selected one spot before Bailey in the 2008 draft. Thanks to that training camp injury, Bailey finished his rookie season with 8 fewer games played.

What happened after that might confuse you if you've been wishing Bailey could have spent time in the AHL before last season. But the rule is slightly different for imports to CHL juniors. The Coyotes were free to demote the Danish-born Boedker to their AHL affiliate, and did so both in 2009-10 and 2010-11. He logged only 14 NHL games his sophomore year and split last season between San Antonio -- they who graciously begat El Cubano Montoya -- and Phoenix.

Toss plus/minus aside (the Coyotes have been a better team with better goaltending over this time*), and nothing really flatters Boedker in this comparison.

Even if you argue Boedker has been brought along "right" by getting so much AHL time after his rookie season, he simply hasn't played as much -- both in total games and TOI per game -- hasn't scored as much, and hasn't even faced as tough competition as Bailey. (The youngster I'd covet on the Coyotes is Martin Hanzal, who does tackle heavy-lifting. Alright, Hanzal's 24, so not exactly "young" like these other pups.)

*Just last season, the Isles conceded 32 shots per game vs. the Coyotes 32.6. The Coyotes GAA was 2.68, the Islanders 3.15.

Boedker's new annual cap hit is $1.1 million on a two-year deal that makes him arbitration-eligible next time around, barring changes to the CBA. (CBA Trivia: Note also that this contract represents a decline in cap hit, but a raise in actual salary, than Boedker's entry level deal. Ah, the twists and turns of the ELC system. Bailey's next deal may see a similar contrast.) Last month when discussing Bailey and Blake Comeau, we noted that 2007 draftee Brandon Sutter singed his second deal at $2.2 million per, though that was on a three-year deal which means he gave up at least one arbitration-eligible year.

Bailey's long-term value is still a question mark, which is perhaps one reason he's not yet agreed to terms on his extension. But one thing you can say is the Islanders selected the currently better NHL player at #9 in 2008 than the Coyotes did at #8.

And that means you can expect Bailey's deal for this season (and next?) to be a little richer.

*  *  *

Coda: It does not escape our notice that Boedker's deal pays him twice Frans Nielsen's salary. Once again: What a contract that was.

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