Kukla's Korner Hockey
by William Morrison on 08/12/11 at 11:54 PM ET
Josh Bailey is a good, young forward with a lot of potential, but is he worth keeping if the Isles can snag a blue line presence to help solidify one of the weaknesses of the team?
Let’s break down Bailey’s career to this point. He was drafted ninth overall in the 2008 entry draft. In his rookie season, he tallied seven goals and 18 assists for 25 points in 68 games played. In the 2009-2010 season, Bailey’s second full season in the NHL, he netted 16 goals and added 19 helpers for 35 points. Last season, Bailey took a step backward with 11 goals and 17 assists in 70 games. Bailey certainly has not lived up to expectations in his first three seasons and needs to take a step forward this season. Line combinations are speculation at this point, but it looks as if he will center the line with Blake Comeau and Michael Grabner. Bailey is a restricted free agent this offseason.
I like Bailey as a player and believe that if he stays with the Islanders he will turn into a solid 2nd line center. I hope that Bailey stays with the Isles because I think he will fulfill his potential. After all, he is still only 21 years old.
I think the only way the Islanders will trade Bailey is if they can get a top four defensemen who can provide stability and experience on the blue line. Defense is a glaring weakness for this team. What the Isles would be giving up in Bailey would be minimal compared to how much a quality defensemen would help this team.
With all that being said, where could Bailey be traded and who could the Islanders get in return? There have been discussions and rumors about Bailey being traded to LA for Drew Doughty. The Voice of the Islander Fans wrote a good piece on the possibilities here. I think that the Islanders would have to give up too much to get Doughty at this point. The Kings have the right to match any offer sheet that the Isles give Doughty. The Islanders would probably have to give up a couple high draft picks and some combination of Calvin de Haan, Kirill Kabanov, Ty Wishart or Kirill Petrov. Personally, I wouldn’t even think of giving up de Haan, Kabanov, or Wishart because their ceilings are way too high.
This is all hypothetical, but if the Isles received a defensemen of Doughty’s caliber, would they pair him with Streit and form a lethal top defense pair, or move Streit to the second pairing with Travis Hamonic or Andrew MacDonald to provide more depth?
It has been rumored that Islanders brass has said that they aren’t going to make a deal for a defensemen unless “one falls into their lap.” I really don’t understand this line of thinking. The Isles have a good, young crop of forwards, but if they have to score four goals per night to win, this season will be a long one. Further, the Isles have plenty of salary cap room left. The Isles have the money and talent to trade for a quality defensemen-they just need to pull the trigger, but need to do so intelligently and not give up too much in return.
The Isles are also looking into potential options remaining on the unrestricted free agent market. The team is so young and depth is obviously an issue. Any veteran presence brought in would go a long way in determining the success of the Islanders this season. Adding Brian Rolston was very important both on the ice and in the locker room. Rolston has done everything as a consummate professional in his career and knows how to carry himself on and off the ice.
A look at a few UFA options still available:
Chris Drury-Never really lived up to expectations on Broadway with the Rangers, but wore the “C” at MSG. Drury would help provide stability in the center of the ice and would be like having another coach on the ice. Who knows, he could get back to where he was before his injuries with the Rangers, but at a minimum, no matter how he performed on the ice, he would be a great addition in the locker room and would be a great help in mentoring the youngsters.
Bryan McCabe-Would quarterback the power play on the first unit and would help the Isles have a strong 1st power play unit. Would also provide veteran leadership on defense.
Anton Stralman-Another possibility, but he was -11 and -17 the last two seasons, respectively. Stralman is only 25, which means he would be exactly what the Isles don’t need-more youth, especially on the blue line.
The Islanders have a few options. They can trade for a defensemen, obtain one via free agency, or stand pat. For the sake of Isles fans everywhere, I hope it isn’t the latter.
The Islanders Informer
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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