With the NHL in the midst of the COVID-19 pause, Drive4Five is starting a new series where we will review and grade every New York Islanders player from this season. For this entry, we will talk about Josh Bailey.
Bailey is often a heavily-debated topic on social media. Some believe he is a good NHL player, while others say he is terrible and is what holds the Islanders back. With those opinions in mind, let’s break down Bailey’s season.
Bailey has continued to play the role of a quality top nine NHLer this season. In 68 games, the Isles’ alternate captain has potted 14 goals and tallied 29 assists for a total of 43 points. While he may not light the world on fire, he was still averaging over 0.6 points per game and was on pace for his fourth consecutive 50 point season before the pause. He also made a little bit of history this year, as he moved up the Isles’ all time ranks to ninth all time on the team’s assist list, and he also played in his 800th NHL game in October against Edmonton.
Even if Bailey can have his moments offensively, he often has some frustrating on-ice gaffes, largely due to his pass-first style of play. He has made quite a few ugly decisions that have shot the Islanders ambitions in the foot. Notable examples include a pair of bad passes in games against the Coyotes and Capitals that led to partial breakaway goals, the ladder ultimately being a game-winning goal of a game in which the Islanders were up 4-1. He also had a particularly bad game against the Ottawa Senators right before the pause, where two turnovers directly lead to Senators goals.
He’s also not really a goal scorer and doesn’t shoot as often as some may want him to. His play style leads to him being like the team as a whole. When the team is rolling, he is a primary contributor to their success, but when the team is stalling, he goes down with them, which is a rough trait for a guy being paid $5 million.
Bailey is not elite, but came into the season with top-six forward expectations. He delivered on these goals, albeit not in sexy fashion.
The Moment of the Season:
The top moment for Bailey came against the rival Rangers on January 21. He enjoyed arguably his best game of the season, tallying a deflection goal in the first and two assists thereafter en route to a 4-2 victory right before the All-Star break.
Bailey is not elite, but that’s not to say he is a terrible player. Even if his numbers aren’t quite as high as last season, he has held his own in the top-nine, even the top-six, and has been in a leadership role once again, making some history in the process. He is sitting right on the doorstep of eighth all-time in assists, and a repeat of this season next year will put him 10th all-time in points for the club. The verdict is that Josh Bailey is not a bad player and has had a decent season, but the contract may be a little bit much for a player like him.