All of the Islanders have gathered in a room for the day a lot of them have been waiting for. It's contract show and tell day. Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner are beaming as they show off their new long term deals. Blake Comeau is downright giddy about his hefty pay raise. Marty Reasoner is more than happy to display his multi-year deal to his new team. Micheal Haley, Ty Wishart, and Dylan Reese- all holding their signed qualifying offers. Trevor Gillies is bear hugging his two-way deal. Tim Wallace and Trevor Frischmon? Even they got signed to something. Hell, Jon Sim was a guest in the room holding a one hour, pretend two way deal. As for Josh Bailey...he's sitting in the corner empty handed.
At this point of the off-season, the fact that Josh Bailey is contractless, to me at least, is puzzling. Last year at this point we were talking about a player who was an integral part of the team's future and being touted as a possible 2nd line center. A year later, Bailey is a man (barely) without a contract on a team who has every other player locked up. Bailey passed on his qualifying offer and besides some vague 'trying to work out a contract' talk, there really has been no word on an impending deal. All of this leads to a list of possible avenues down which this process could play out for Josh and the Islanders.
1. The Isles and Bailey agree to a multi-year deal. Garth is still smitten with his first round draft pick and wants to see Bailey in an Isles jersey for a long time. The talks were kept on the hush-hush, but really there was nothing to worry about all along.
2. Josh Bailey is some serious trade bait. Bailey doesn't need a contract to be dealt by the Islanders and Garth's drafting of Ryan Strome was more than just a coincidence. Snow didn't think sending Bailey to the AHL really got the message through to young Josh and he and his rights find themselves expendable in a deal for an upgrade at some other position.
3. Garth is putting Bailey in a timeout. Snow isn't really sure what Mr. Bailey could be thinking. Coming off the season he had, he should be happy he received any kind of offer at all. And saying no to his QO has irked the front office just enough to make Bailey sweat. Right before training camp starts, Garth delivers the offer, and Josh happily signs.
4. Garth is sending Bailey to his room with no supper. Turning his back on his QO hasn't just irked the front office, it's downright annoyed them. The Islanders have done this in the past with a former first rounder who underacheived, and the Islanders are willing to let Josh sit and wait until the middle of the season to sign a new deal. Call it getting Bergenheimed.
Now I highly doubt option 4 is really an option at all, but being it's happened before, it has to at least be considered. But any of the other three ideas are definitely in play. I'm in the group who believes Bailey wasn't really in much of a position to be bargaining and should have just signed his QO, played his ass off, and earned a long-term deal next offseason. It remains to be seen how this will actually play out, but however it does, you have to admit the lack of deal, or news about a deal, has to leave you scratching your head.