Josh Bailey to remain with New York Islanders for whole season

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Josh Bailey, the No. 9 pick in this year’s NHL draft, will remain with the New York Islanders for the entire season instead of returning to his junior team.

A decision had to be made before the Islanders faced the Ottawa Senators at home on Saturday night.

Once a junior eligible player appears in nine games, he must go back to that club until the conclusion of his team’s season, or he can remain in the NHL. By staying, the first year of Bailey’s entry level contract will kick in.

Bailey, who missed the first 14 games of the season with an injury, made his debut on Nov. 11. The 19-year-old centre had no goals and five assists in his first nine games.

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“In a short time, Josh has met and exceeded all of our expectations of him both on and off the ice,” Islanders general manager Garth Snow said in a statement. “We look forward to watching him continue his development this season as an Islander.”

Bailey, who notched 183 points in his junior career with Windsor and Owen Sound of the Ontario Hockey League, was relieved to be staying in the NHL.

“My goal ever since I was drafted was to make the team out of training camp, and to stay with the Islanders for the entire season,” Bailey said. “I look forward to making Long Island my home.”