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Bailey Makes the Jump

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

Josh Bailey
Josh Bailey is the seventh 2008 draft pick to go straight from the Canadian juniors to the NHL this season. While that may seem like a small number, that total is much higher than in previous years. In 2007, only three drafted players from Canadian juniors made the jump to the NHL immediately, and in 2006 there was only one––Pittsburgh’s Jordan Staal.

With an age restriction in place in the professional minor leagues–the AHL and ECHL––teenagers who played in one of the Canadian Hockey Leagues––OHL, WHL and QMJHL––are only eligible to play in the NHL or return to their junior team. Rarely do teenagers have the talent to make an immediate impact in the NHL, and are often sent back to juniors to further develop. Bailey proved that he could make such an impact at the NHL level.
"Josh is a mature player, who has done everything right that we've asked him to do," said Islanders Head Coach Scott Gordon. "He is a player who makes the players around him better, and those types of players are hard to come by."
But Bailey isn't the first Islander to play in the NHL in his draft year after developing in one of the three Canadian junior leagues. Many of the Islanders' Dynasty members did not play a game in the AHL. Mike Bossy and Denis Potvin were all first-round picks by the Islanders that saw NHL playing time the year they were drafted.
Bob Nystrom was a special case because he was chosen in the third round by the Islanders in 1972 and skated with the team that same season. Bryan Trottier was chosen in the second round in 1974 and did the same. Rarely will non-first round picks follow that path, considering how few players make the jump.
As the development of young players in the minors became more prevalent in the 1990s and beyond, fewer players have made the jump from juniors to the NHL. However, a few Islanders first round picks have done so, including Pat LaFontaine, Bryan Berard, Bryan McCabe and Tim Connolly.
Bailey can now be added to that elite club and at 19 years of age has a bright future ahead of him on Long Island.

Watch IslandersTV for reactions on Josh Bailey staying with the Islanders.

The Islanders' "Hockey With a Heart" campaign continued on Saturday with Island Harvest Night, presented by LIBOR. Island Harvest and LIBOR have been longstanding partners in their fight to end hunger on Long Island. Each holiday season the two team-up to host an island-wide food drive. The Islanders hosted a collection station at the Nassau Coliseum prior to the Islanders-Senators game.
"It's really great organizations like the Islanders support the food drive because it brings more credibility to the cause," said Randi Shubin Dresner, President and CEO of Island Harvest. "Hunger is a big issue that many people don't know about. More than 1 in 10 people in the world know hunger. We've collected more than 14,000 turkeys this season and are on pace to reach our goal of 25,000. Last year we collected 9,000. The Islanders have greatly helped with their food collection tonight."
Islanders fans were very generous with their donations on Saturday, bringing more than 4,000 pounds of food to the game. There was so much food that it completely filled the large Island Harvest truck. The Island Harvest volunteers had to deliver that food and come back to fill the truck a second time.
Just before the drop of the puck, Chris Campoli presented Dresner and Mohsen Zandieh, President of LIBOR with a check for $17,000 to further help the cause.
"We always want to be a sponsor for good causes," said Zandieh. "The food drive offers us a way to pay back the community that has supported us so well throughout the years. This year in particular it has been difficult for many families and we're proud to be proactive in the fight against hunger."

Click here to find out more about Island Harvest.

Join the Islanders for their first Sticks and Steaks Dinner. From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, Islanders fans will have the opportunity to place a bid to have a steak dinner with their favorite Islanders player at Rothmann’s Steakhouse and Grill.

The person who bids the highest along with a guest will enjoy dinner with the player they bid on, along with the rest of the Islanders team. All proceeds for this event will go directly to the Islanders Children’s Foundation. Make sure to act quickly because the auction will be running from Wednesday, November 26th to December 31st. All winners will be notified in a timely fashion. Rick DiPietro, Bill Guerin, Doug Weight and Mike Comrie will have multiple winners!

Click here to bid now.

Islanders forward Mike Sillinger played in his third conditioning stint game with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Saturday. On Friday, Sillinger scored a goal in the Bridgeport's 4-1 win over Hartford. In his first game with Bridgeport, Sillinger had three assists.
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