Before NHL Deputy Commissioner could even complete his pre-draft roll call, the Blackhawks made a deal. Chicago acquired forward Josh Bailey and a 2026 second-round pick for future considerations.

Bailey, 33, a veteran of 1,057 games, he has scored 184 goals and 396 assists, including eight goals and 17 assists in 64 games for the Islanders last season. He carries a $5 million cap hit and will be a free agent after this season.

Initially, this move felt like another fortifying of the forward group and some veteran help to ease Connor Bedard’s NHL transition, but it appears the Blackhawks will place Bailey on unconditional waivers for the purpose of a buyout.

Kyle Davidson explains the decision to trade for, then buyout, Josh Bailey