Josh Bailey’s Place on Islanders Roster
Since his first season with the Islanders, has there been a more scrutinized player than Josh Bailey? He has yet to live up to his potential as the 9th overall pick, and fan are getting restless waiting for that player to emerge.
With the signings of Mikhail Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin, along with the emergence of Brock Nelson, Anders Lee and Ryan Strome, where does that leave Bailey on the roster for this upcoming season?
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Head Coach Jack Capuano has already stated that he would give Brock Nelson the well-deserved chance to play alongside John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. There wouldn’t be much of a reason to split up Kulemin and Grabovski and Ryan Strome is worthy of being a top six forward. So there are two lines that don’t include Bailey.
A third-line wing alongside Frans Nielsen, may be the only spot Bailey could fit into. His competition would most likely be Michael Grabner and rookie, Anders Lee. Grabner is arguably the fastest skater in the NHL and has the ability to to alter the game with his speed. He also has flourished on the penalty kill alongside Nielsen. After joining the team late last season, Anders Lee was nothing short of spectacular. He has the body of a ready NHL power-forward and has a nose for the net.
Then there is Josh Bailey. In his six seasons with the Islanders, Bailey has shown glimpses of his skill with an excellent release but not always able to find the target. He has yet to amass 20 goals in a season with his career high being 18, coming in only his second season. Last season Bailey was only able to find the back of the net eight times in 77 games. Meanwhile, Anders Lee put home nine goals in only 22 games.
There are no givens this season for Bailey. Come september, 18, the beginning of training camp, Bailey will have to earn his spot on this roster. At this point in his career it is time for Bailey to show the organization and fans alike, why he was a former top-15 draft pick.