The Best of Josh Bailey Is Long Gone
Josh Bailey is an Islanders folk hero. He even has his own song for crying out loud! Bailey weathered the storm of being a lottery pick and was put in the big show way too early. Furthermore, he played on MANY terrible Islanders teams. He has seen the franchise turnaround into a respectable team that is pretty frequently in the playoff mix. However, that doesn’t change the facts. Some Islanders fans need to take off their rose-colored glasses. Josh Bailey is easily the most overrated player on the team. Furthermore, if I were Lou Lamoriello, I would seriously consider trading him as soon as this offseason.
No matter who you are, 1026 NHL games are an impressive feat. It shows you have some staying power and that you belong. However, the best of Josh Bailey disappeared around the 900 mark. These days, he’s a wildly inconsistent player who can’t hit the net and is a liability at best on his own end. He sports a 48.1 CF%. Long story short, anything under 50% means the opposition is outplaying you. To make matters worse, new head coach Lane Lambert is struggling to find a spot for Bailey. He’s played up and down the lineup and was even scratched from time to time.
Is This A Trend?
Even when he was a productive player, Bailey still couldn’t hold his own defensively. His career year was in 2017-2018, John Tavares’ last season in New York. On his wing, Bailey put up a respectable 18 goals and 53 assists for 71 points. The downside? He was a minus-20 on the year. That means he was on the ice for at least 91 goals against in his 76 games played. Imagine that? Mathematically speaking, Bailey watched the puck go into his own net at least once every game while he was playing. His career mark of minus-48 is actually respectable considering the dog years he played on Long Island.
It hurts to write this. I have nothing but respect and admiration for Josh Bailey considering everything he did for this team. I will never forget his overtime goals in the playoffs. Furthermore, seeing #12 in the lineup through both good and bad times is very inspiring. He is most definitely a heart and soul guy for this team. Bailey has had a knack for the big moment in years past:
The chemistry and loyalty he brings are just about the only factors working for him. He’s making $5 million both this season and next. Opening up cap space, especially in a loaded free agent class, is critical. All in all, the sad truth is that I believe an Old Yeller solution is best. Find a team like Ottawa or Arizona and ship him off there. However, I don’t think it’s gonna happen. Like in the Godfather, loyalty means a lot to Lou Lamoriello. He’ll stand by the guys that stand by him. Things could change if it gets to the point that Bailey consistently gets scratched. However, with the trade deadline approaching, and some injured veterans set to return at some point, clarity should follow.
The New York Islanders are a team in limbo. Sadly, Josh Bailey’s career might be in limbo. You can call it father time or whatever you want. I think his name should be passed down to generations of Islanders fans. On Twitter, I have seen many fans start to lose their patience with him. Fans have also been clamoring for upgrades in the scoring department. If the Islanders can find a way to include Bailey in a deal for Bo Horvat or Timo Meier, then that would be a grand slam.