Islanders Summer Report Card : Josh Bailey


Apr. 13, 2013; Uniondale, NY, USA; New York Islanders center

Josh Bailey

(12) handles the puck against the New York Rangers during the first period at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports


Student Report

  • Name : Josh Bailey
  • Enrolled : 2012-2013
  • Age: 23
  • Undergraduate: 2008
  • Days Absent: 10
  • Scholarship: None, restricted free agent
  • Achievements:    38 games played, 11 goals, 8 assists, 19 points, +7, 76 shots on goal

Class List and Grade History

  • Skating :  C+
  • Shooting : C
  • Passing : B
  • Defense : B
  • Leadership :  Incomplete

Professor Comments : Josh had another slow start to the season, hampered by an injury that he suffered while playing overseas during the lockout. That led the Islanders to put him on the suspension list, thereby avoiding paying him his salary until he was ready to join the big club. When he did, in the season’s 11th game, it was a slow start. After scoring only 1 goal and adding 3 assists in 11 February games, he matched the Isles team performance on the ice. March could not be considered much better, adding only 4 goals and an assist to his totals in 14 games. Some in the fanbase wondered if this was the same old Bailey who has teased before with his talent only to not perform on the scoresheet.

As April rolled around and the Islanders play continued to steam towards a potential playoff berth, the line of Bailey, Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo really started to click. The familiarity that each player clearly has with one another led them to not only producing in all areas of the ice but at various times, carrying the club in the absence of cohesiveness on the first line. 6-4-10 in 13 April games allowed Bailey to finish strong and put him on pace for 24 goals and 17 assists over a projected full 82 game season.

Skating has never been one of Bailey’s strong suits. He does show good balance and agility but struggles with straight line speed. The old adage is that you cannot teach speed so we might have seen the max of how good Josh can motor north to south.

Shooting has always been the x factor. Showing a good shot with above average accuracy, the problem has been to get him to shoot more often. We have seen time and time again his reluctance to do so, passing up glorious chances in the high slot only to slide a pass to his left or right to one of his teammates for a lower percentage opportunity. Bailey has never averaged more than 1.53 shots per game in his career and if he can even improve that to 2, definitely has the ability to score 30 goals in the league.

Even though the assist totals don’t show it, Bailey is an accurate passer. Paired with Nielsen and Okposo, there is a camaraderie on the ice that clearly shows when these three get into the offensive zone. Smart decisions with the puck have also tremendously improved over the course of his five years on the Island.

Defensively, Bailey has gone from seasons of -14, -13 and -10 to post a career high +7 this season. Although a questionable stat to say the least and not entirely indicative of true defensive prowess, the fact remains this is something he worked on in the off-season and it proved to produce positive results this season.

Leadership got an incomplete grade as Josh does not wear a C or A on his jersey and is not thought of as one of the leaders on the ice. But his willingness to play to the system, adapt to situations that head coach Jack Capuano puts him in and his work on the penalty kill might prove that this skill is on the uptick and could produce a letter one day in the future.

Professor Recommendation : Bailey has been part of the rebuild since being drafted in the first round of 2008. Forced into the NHL, by almost all accounts, too early, proved to be a heavy burden for him. As he has worked on improving his play on the ice we got a glimpse late this year of what the future might hold. That is, granted, he is still ON the team come September.  With so many chips in Bridgeport salivating at their chance in the NHL, there are only so many roster spots to go around. Without a contract and negotiations between general manager Garth Snow and his agent being contemptuous at best, it could be real interesting to see what Josh and his agent think he is worth comparative to the evaluation of the Islanders front office staff.

Fresh off a deal that paid him $1.05m the thinking here is that he is a big part of the Islanders future and should see a 3-4 year extension at 2.25mm per season after all factors are taken into consideration. Remember it is not just about the player performance and impact on the overall team, it is also about the going market value around the NHL. With Okposo signing his extension at 2.8mm, Nielsen at 2.75m and Michael Grabner at 3mm, this is is probably where Josh fits into the salary structure.

Here is your chance to let the faculty know what you thought of Josh’s performance this season. What would you do?