In 2008, Garth Snow made a decision that really peeved off hundreds that attended the Draft Lottery party at the Nassau Coliseum. He went off the board, not taking the ‘sexy’ pick Nikita Filitov (and what a career HE is having), and moved down to pick number 7 from his original 5. He then went two more down, and selected a youngster playing in Windsor named Josh Bailey. He was not on the radar to even go that high, but Garth had a feeling about him. He liked his character and his affable nature, and felt that he could mold into a player that Islanders Nation would be proud of.
Three non-first round like seasons later, #12 is at a crossroads.
At the time of this article, Bailey did not accept the qualifying offer, so at this time, he is a restricted free agent. However, checking out hockey circles, he is knocking down many doors. Which makes it real simple for me to comprehend:
John Bailey will be back in Islander Blue in 2011-2012.
I know that is not a prediction that would make me a star in sports prognostication, but I fell comfortable about that. Bailey, although the numbers are as strong as a normal top 10 first round pick has typically done, is such a solidly grounded kid, that a lot of fans like to attach themselves to. I know that in his first few weeks as an Islander, my wife, the Booster Club President at the time got the chance to meet him, when she had to meet someone from the Islanders office. Not being a player that has an “I am a star” attitude, he met Claire, and was asking for her name, and being quite the gentlemen.
Three years later, working in the press box, Josh shows those same qualities and is the type of guy that you want to root for.
When I see him in practice, or in the weight room, I see a young man that is passionate in what he does, and looks like he is constantly striving to improve. In some cases, that type of player just does not blossom at 19, like the Islanders would have wanted to. He may not get the ‘buzz’ until 21 or even later. I really believe that he will get the NHL juice running and be the player that Garth Snow expected him to be.
If the Islanders were not going to keep Josh, I think that there would have been both feelers known from other NHL teams, or commentary (not negative, but not glowing) from Islander management.
Don’t fret Bailey fans, I think you will see number 12 back in the lineup in quite the near future, and I think this is a wakeup call to him, to get his game moving to the next level.
This week – we will be looking at some of the ‘fringe’ Islanders and wondering what role they may play for this season.
Put SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 18TH on the Calendar. The Islander Season Preview will be out. John, Rob (our new writer – alias DOC), and I will go over the team and look at our expectations, and predict what we think the team will do.
Every day this month – Fan Sided is doing 30 NHL Previews in 30 Days. You have seen Anaheim, Boston and Buffalo previewed so far. Calgary is today. Keep checking with Eyes on Isles, for all the teams, during the month of September, as we get ready for the 2011-2012 Season.
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