Oct 19, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center Josh Bailey (12) and Carolina Hurricanes left wing Alexander Semin (28) go for the puck during the first period of a game at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Islanders Op/Ed : Bailing on Bailey


Fans cannot expect every draft pick to pan out. Even more so, it is harder to realize when a player is a bust, especially a player like Josh Bailey, who, when he is on his game, can be a positive factor. However, for me, it appears the Islanders have made a mistake in signing him to a 5-year contract that gives him 3.3M per season.

Despite having some good hands from time to time, Bailey has many issues. His lack of confidence puts him out of position and maybe even worse, it pushes him to try to do too much in hopes he will find the missing X-factor.

Further, Bailey’s size (6′ 1″ 194lbs) should not be an issue considering it hovers around the NHL average, but he still has problems with being aggressive on the forecheck and protecting the puck in the offensive zone. On the defensive side of the puck, much like most Islander wingers, he is lost. Plain and simple.

Was Bailey rushed in to the NHL? Maybe. But that is hard to say. It is an argument between being rushed and a player simply being drafted higher than he should have, which leads me to my next question.

Should a first round pick (2008′s 9th overall) still have no seasons with 20 goals? I say no way, especially not with the skill level Bailey has. Again, he has shown he is capable, but something is holding him back. And again, seeing “1st Round Pick – 9th Overall” next to his name leads us to believe he needs to be doing much more.

For me, the greatest question for Bailey’s future with the Islanders is about where he fits in. Clearly, unless he has an impressive offseason, he is not a second line player. Period. Brock Nelson has proven his place in the top-six group of forwards and, being perfectly honest, the idea of Nelson, Frans Nielsen, and Michael Grabner is not the worst thing that could happen going in to next season, baring any trades or free agent signings, though we are all hoping for a 1st line player.

This leaves Bailey out of a job.

Between Anders Lee, Ryan Strome (a potential second like center), Cal Clutterbuck (not meant to score more than 20 goals), Colin McDonald, and Johan Sundstrom the third line and overall bottom-six are clogged up. This doesn’t even consider prospects like Victor Crus Rydberg, newly acquired Sebastian Collberg (playing in Europe), and even the oft-forgotten David Ullstrom coming in to the mix. 

If Bailey is going to continue to score between 10 and 20 goals and around 20 assists per season, he may be wearing another sweater pretty soon.

In my opinion, Bailey has one a year to prove himself before the idea of a trade or buyout is thought about.

So, have you bailed on Bailey?

Answer on twitter (@jonzella) or in the comment section. Also, make sure to catch us on Facebook at Facebook.com/EyesOnIsles.

Tags: Josh Bailey New York Islanders

  • Pivot

    He had a solid season last year. I kind of thought he’d have a breakout year this season. I was a little surprised to see the Islanders commit to Bailey in such a way the Islanders did. He had a good start to this season as well. I thought he was well on his way to at least 50 points this year. I thought GM Snow would look like a genius for signing him so cheaply.

  • Bababoie to y’all!

    Baileys problem is between his ears I think. ALso how is he ever going to wear another sweater? WHo would take this guy?

  • Jim617

    For what ever reason power forwards take a little longer to develop.They gave up on Todd Bertuzzi and he blossomed the season after they let him go.Vancouver gave up on Cam Neely and he became one of the best players in Bruins history.Give him a chance and put him in situations to succeed and he’ll come around.

    • Danfromouteast

      Bailey a power forward!?!? Are you serious? He barely for-checks IF ever can’t play the corners or the dirty areas. To mention his name and Neely in the same comment is ludicrous

    • Henry M Goldberg

      also have heard that it takes time for a general manager and coach develop. however in this case cappy and snow have had more than enough time to develop and have not. interesting cause i think there are some good prospects on the team and in the system coming up. but this current “system” is is screwing up good talent. strome should be centering a better line than he is doing. and bailey if they are going to keep him should be playing 4th line. wang certainly could find a buyer for this team, it is not that far away from being a playoff contender, but not with the current mismanagement group that is in there. how is it that other teams have some productive 20 year olds playing?

      • Jim617

        I’ve read more than once the Nets owner wants to buy them. Be great if Wang sold them.I was surprised he didn’t when they killed the Nassau Cty deal.

  • Sgt HEY NOW

    No team is trading for Bailey’s remaining 4 yrs/$13M, nor will the Isles eat that amount. Snow will let him play unlimited top 6 minutes until he gets right. It’s stinks, but this is what happens when a GM is left unaccountable for his performance. Bold prediction: Bailey will have more minutes than Strome next season.

    • Robert Mango

      i hate t o agree, but i do =( He will never come close to proving his contract, they won’t buy him out, looks like we’re stuck watching Strome play on the 4th line while Bailey grabs 2nd line minutes…

      • Þorsteinn Halldórsson

        Hell throw him on the 4th line…would it matter …possibly to Strome.

  • FitzWilly

    Pack your shit and get out of town Josh

    tx
    Management

  • Þorsteinn Halldórsson

    mistake #4 this year was signing him…he was a disappointment for me 3 years ago and continues to disappoint.