The reports of Josh Bailey signing for two years, $2.1 million ($1.05 million salary) strikes me as a sign that the agents lost this one.
Pat Morris (Bailey's reported agent) and Newport Sports (überagent Don Meehan's agency) appeared to stretch this all summer long to see if the Islanders would bend, but in the end a sensible contract -- even cheaper than I expected -- was reached: Bailey gets a decent above-qualifying-offer raise over the $875,000 base salary of his ELC.
If Katie Strang's source is precise on the salary, then Bailey's cap hit is actually lower now than the $1.725 million of his ELC. Which was to be expected: Though a top 10 pick in 2008, Bailey's trajectory is still more of an unknown than his fellow methodical classmates Drew Doughty, Luke Schenn and Zach Bogosian. This deal takes him up to his arbitration years (pending any changes in the next CBA), where he'll cash in royally if he performs as well as his agent no doubt told Garth Snow he already has.
There are differing opinions on this -- and we don't know without witnessing negotiations ourselves -- but when a negotiation lingers this long I interpret it as a sign the agent is, as is his wont, trying to see if a GM will fold and reach beyond his budget. Garth Snow did not fold.
Newsday's Arthur Staple reported the two sides as "fairly far apart all summer." With a salary of just $1.05 million, who do you think gave in?
Meehan's group is known for representing a ton of NHL players, for representing them well, and for using the collective power that implies to create a bit of a ruckus every now and then. Certainly they're doing the latter with the Doughty negotiations. For a client in Bailey who had zero leverage this summer, Newport certainly gave it its best shot. In the end, more GMs are much smarter than they were when Meehan was wielding power in a cap-free world.
Now we can get on with the business of the season so many are hopeful about.
- If you missed it yesterday, Strang also reports Mark Katic has a torn labrum that probably needs surgery. Big blow for a roster bubble guy who may not have the same opportunity next year at this time.
- More perspective on the Bailey negotiation from Yahoo.
- Great Tavares Q&A transcript at nhl.com.
- ...And an audio interview via NHL Home Ice. With more copy from nhl.com. And the official site.
- I'm not going to dignify the Yashin stories with a link. We've seen this cycle regurgitated every year and thus far it's always ended up like we've predicted it would: No fire.
- This all means it's winning time -- not rebuilding. (That reminds me of JP's FanPost from last week.)
- Training Camp: Player physicals begin today at 7 a.m. as the veterans report. On-ice stuff begins Saturday. There will be a media day Tuesday, and the first preseason game is Friday (a week from today) in Boston.
- In the video posted below, Snow talks about how excited he is for the season, how he wishes the season started yesterday. We're getting there.
- Who are the best near-minimum salary players in the NHL? Area 51, anyone?
- Yesterday's "Frozen in Time" Islanders shot was a classic.
- FanShot: Cool video of Isles getting inked up at Tattoo Lou's.
More since this was originally published:
- CBS Local on what the Tavares contract means.
- The Post on Bailey. Newsday's fuller story. And heh, the official site's announcement titles it "In Before the Wire."
- Isles cuts via FanShot: "Brenden Kichton and John Persson will return to their respective Western Hockey League (WHL) teams, while Andrey Pedan will return to his Ontario Hockey League (OHL) club. The Islanders have also released Art Bidlevskii from his Amateur Tryout Contract (ATO)"
Speaking of agents and the players they guide, Quisp has an interesting thought exercise on what, exactly, is at stake for Drew Doughty. Of course, the Kings don't have a Wang rule, so for Meehan and Doughty, not showing up for the start of camp is all part of trying to make that GM bend...
And Luke Schenn gets 5 years at a reported $3.5 million.
Okay, this is close to why I am vocal about nostalgia, about the Islanders' original colors, about not fidgeting with things just to sell more jerseys: Traditions should be nurtured by fans, not by marketers. I spend a lot more money on NHL merchandise when marketers play on my already existing sense of tradition, rather than trying to force new ones down my throat. (Yes, I'm looking at you, RBK.)
Incomes: Decent look at franchise incomes as reported by Forbes. This five-year chart may be the better snapshot (though teams usually dispute Forbes' numbers). The big takeaway for me from these is always a reminder that this league stands on a very few mega-profitable teams. It doesn't make sense to have a six-team league, so somebody's gotta share. But as revenue disparity widens ... well what then? Share even more?
John Tavares with the Media
Here's part of Tavares' scrum with the media yesterday. Wow, he looks and sounds so grown up compared to his draft year.
Garth Snow on Tavares
Here's Snow talking about Tavares and the overall lineup yesterday. They talked about "several different scenarios."
Calvin de Haan Mic'd Up
Nothing jaw-dropping, but still fun. Such a smooth skater:
Tyler McNeely Workout
Finally, from JP (VA chapter), a training promo video with Tyler McNeely from his Northeastern days: