Josh Bailey has always been a New York Islander. However, it appears a return to the franchise for a 16th season in 2023-24 is doubtful after team President of Hockey Operations and General Manager Lou Lamoriello spoke on Tuesday afternoon.
“Josh and I have, I think, a man-to-man relationship as far as honesty,” Lamoriello said. “We will work with him and do whatever to help him, but my priority is doing what’s best for the team.”
Playing in just 64 games, Bailey totaled 25 points with eight goals during the regular season and didn’t dress for any of the Islanders’ six games against the Carolina Hurricanes in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. When the team broke for the summer on May 1, the veteran winger voiced his displeasure in his role this year.
“I think looking back on it now, it’s rather telling,” Bailey said. “Getting scratched four or five games into the year before my 1000th game to where we end up at the end of the season, I think, makes a lot more sense now.”
Bailey, 33, believes he can still contribute to an NHL team as he enters the final year of his current contract with a cap hit of $5 million and doesn’t intend on being a spectator at the beginning of next season.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen,” Bailey said. “I think as far as where my role is, and obviously, if I’m going to be sitting in the stands a lot, it’s not something I want to do.”
The Islanders selected Bailey with the eighth overall pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, and his 1,057 career games are the third most in the history of the franchise.