Josh Bailey has never been a fan favorite until this season. Bailey is posting crazy numbers this year, currently tied for second in the league in points with John Tavares at 49. As well as being second in points, he is also tied for first in assists.
The 2017-18 season is new territory for not only the Islanders, but Josh Bailey. This raises the question, why has Josh Bailey played so well this season? The easy answer is that he is on the best line in the NHL, consisting of former Hart trophy nominee John Tavares and Anders Lee, who is currently leading the league in goals scored this season. One could also argue that Josh Bailey is turning on the jets due to this being his last year on contract with the Islanders and he wants a large contract extension.
Let’s put this into perspective: Calgary Flames young star, Johnny Gaudreau, signed a six-year contract extension last October worth $6,750,000 per year. Johnny Gaudreau is considered to be a young star in today’s NHL. He is having a good season for the Flames, posting 28 assists and 41 points. Meanwhile, for the Islanders, Josh Bailey is currently making $3,300,000 per season and as mentioned before, he leads the league in assists and is tied for second in points.
Josh Bailey is currently on pace to post over 100 points this season. The only player to post 100 points last season was league MVP, Connor McDavid. Many fans across the league who hear about Josh Bailey’s season are very quick to criticize him and even the rest of the team. A majority of people believe that all of Josh Bailey’s success is only attributed to him being on the first line with John Tavares and Anders Lee. However, what fans don’t realize is that in the beginning of the season, the first line was Lee-Tavares-Eberle. This quickly changed because there was little chemistry between the trio. Once Bailey hooked up with Tavares and Lee like last season, the trio went off and is now considered one of the best lines in the NHL. In fact, NHL Network classified them as the best line in the NHL on a show last week.
After hearing all of this information, many fans will still continue to hate on Bailey and the Islanders. This has proven not to be a problem for Josh, considering the amount of hate he has gotten throughout his career. It amazes me that he can push through it and continue to evolve into one of the league’s elite wingers. Josh Bailey is an elite player, so get used to it Islanders fans.
The evolution is complete. Josh Bailey is an elite NHL winger who will get a gigantic contract this season, whether it is from the Islanders, or another team that would dream of having him.