The Islanders made the Eastern Conference Finals, where they lost in six games to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Bailey has been criticized by fans in the past, but he is now one of the most loved players on the team. Today, I will be taking a closer look at the former ninth overall pick.
What Has Bailey’s Career Looked Like So Far?
Josh Bailey was selected ninth overall in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He immediately made the jump to the Islanders, who finished the 2008-09 season with a 26-47-9 record. Bailey finished the season with seven goals and 18 assists in 68 games. The following season saw Bailey begin to break out offensively. He scored 16 goals and 19 assists in 73 games. He continued to put up similar point totals in the coming years.
In the lockout-shortened 2013 season, Bailey was on pace for 23 goals. He recorded 11 goals and eight assists in 38 games. In the 2017-18 season, he set career highs in goals, assists, and points. He had 18 goals and 53 assists in 76 games while playing on a line with Anders Lee and John Tavares. That was enough to get him into the NHL All-Star game in Tampa Bay.
What Does He Bring To The Islanders?
Bailey is more of a playmaker than anything else. This was very clear during the 2020 playoffs, where he recorded two goals and 18 assists in 22 games. He was a perfect fit on the 2nd line with Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier. That line made some great plays in the playoffs and hopefully, they continue that success into this season. Bailey has been very consistent, both points wise and durability wise. He has played at least 76 games every year since 2015-16 (excluding the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season). His consistency and leadership have earned him the role of alternate captain. He has served in this role since 2018.
What Can We Expect From Him This Season?
It was very clear that Bailey found chemistry with Brock Nelson and Anthony Beauvillier in the playoffs. He was playing at nearly a point per game pace. If the Islanders can continue that scoring during this season, Bailey will likely be in the top three in scoring on the team. They were one of the highest-scoring teams in the playoffs, which is the exact opposite of what they did in the regular season.
Barry Trotz has his teams play under a very defensive system, so this is part of the reason the team didn’t score much. Bailey is now 31 years old and is approaching a time where many players seem to slow down. There’s no guarantee that he’ll put up the same numbers that he had in the playoffs, but if his line can continue to produce at a similar rate, they’ll be just fine.
My Thoughts On Josh Bailey
I believe that Josh Bailey is one of the greatest Islanders of all time. Bailey is currently fifth all-time in games played by an Islander and will pass Clark Gillies once he plays his eighth game of the 2020-21 season. He is 13th in points by an Islander. Although he isn’t the superstar that everyone thought we were getting when we took him ninth overall, he has given us 12 great seasons so far, and hopefully many more down the road. He hasn’t always been a fan favorite, but he certainly is now. This is very clear when he scores a goal at home and the fans start singing. This can lead to a whole different debate: should #12 be retired at the end of Bailey’s career?