Yup. That just happened.
Josh Bailey was shipped to the Islanders' AHL affiliate in Bridgeport this morning in an attempt to jump-start the prized prospect who hasn't recorded a point for the full duration of the Isles' 13-game skid.
Overreaction? Possibly. Is it a bad move? Not necessarily. But what the move does do is raise questions, particularly considering the Islanders' current situation.
First off, is a demotion, after two years in Long Island, really in order? Despite the streak, during which everyone on the team has struggled, Bailey remains only 2.6 points per game off his pace from last season. He hasn't been stellar lately, in fact he's been pretty rough. But which Islander has has been good?
Timing may have played a role in the decision. With one more game played, Bailey would have had to pass through waivers to reach Bridgeport, so this was the last chance the club had to make the move. That said, what makes the move so striking is, to this point, the Islanders had been adamant about keeping Bailey with the big club, even as a 19-year-old. So that raises another question: He was mature enough to handle the pressures of the NHL back then, but two seasons later, he needs more time to develop?
And will he get the attention in Bridgeport he can get on Long Island? Is Bridgeport, where the team is likely still adapting to the recently promoted Pat Bingham, really the right environment?
Maybe he needed the kick in the pants. Maybe he needed to find some swagger against lesser competition to regain his offensive game. And yes, he'll undoubtedly be back with the Isles before too long. But for a team struggling to get a single win, sending down a player with as much potential as Bailey, in his third NHL season, just seems flat out odd.