Say it isn’t so New York Islanders Fans. Josh Bailey, former whipping post of this storied franchise, has now become one of, if not the best player on this team. Leading the team in points and plus/minus, Josh is putting together another All-star season.
Listen, I was one of the Josh Bailey haters a few years ago. Those seasons where he would put up 25,35, and 28 points. The years where he would have a grand total of less than 20 assists were truly painful to watch. It looked like another wasted first round pick for the New York Islanders.
Fans wanted Garth Snow’s head for not trading Bailey throughout the years. He’s been on the New York Islanders since the 2008-2009 season, making him the longest tenured player on the team. That’s ten years and you truly have to give him props because the only thing exciting for Josh in ten years was ONE playoff series win against the Florida Panthers.
Fast forward to 2018, Josh leads the team in points with 21 in 22 games, is first on the team with a +9, and is second on the team in assists with 14. Josh had an excellent game last night against Carolina, with a goal and an assist for two more points.
He’s also extremely smart defensively, and has a brilliant hockey IQ, hence why John Tavares wanted to play with him. Fans and writers have always argued against Josh Bailey, as he never shot the puck and made stupid passes, or he was too slow and played soft. Bailey seems to have a whole new game, much more physical and this year he has also really incorporated a blazing one-timer into his game.
It took Bailey a few years to settle in for the Isles, but unlike many other high drafted prospects, the team never gave up on him regardless of the hate and wrath of the Isles faithful. In his last 180 games, Josh has 148 points folks. That’s closing in on close to a point a game player, Bailey haters.
This wasn’t an article to bash fans who wanted Bailey gone a few years ago, because that was 95% of us. This is an article out of pure joy that we held on to Bailey and he is contributing at such a high rate. He’s shooting more, and is obviously on the ice for more goals scored than against, with a plus 9. Just look at the Isles second leading scorer in Mat Barzal, he’s a -10. That should tell you a lot right there where Bailey has come.
If Josh continues this pace and finishes with 80 points and has great play on the back-check as well, he’s for sure my team MVP at the end of the season.