As the New York Islanders formally welcomed their future with the opening of their rookie development camp on Wednesday, they saw a large piece of their past officially move on.
Former Islanders forward Josh Bailey has sat as an unrestricted free agent ever since the team traded him away early in the offseason. Now, for the first time in his career, Bailey will suit up in colors other than blue and orange, as the 33-year-old signed a professional tryout deal with the Ottawa Senators, per an announcement by Senators Communications.
— Sens Communications (@Media_Sens) September 14, 2023
While playing for the Senators organization may feel unfamiliar to Bailey, his new coaching staff will at least be. From 2005-08, Bailey played for current Senators head coach D.J. Smith and assistant coach Bob Jones while a member of the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires. Former Islanders head coach Jack Capuano, who Bailey played for from 2011-17, is also a part of Ottawa’s coaching staff.
Before the start of the offseason, Bailey made it clear he still viewed himself as an everyday player in the NHL. But as the summer wore on, Bailey’s options proved limited, and it seemed more and more likely he’d have to settle for a PTO deal.
PTO contracts are not guaranteed, so it remains to be seen if Bailey will make the Senators roster out of training camp. If he does, his first-ever game against the New York Islanders will be Thursday, Oct. 26, at UBS Arena.