New York Islanders Josh Bailey had a career year this season with 56 points. But unlike suggestions, he wasn’t lucky. He just reaped the rewards of structure.
Josh Bailey has been maligned for years by New York Islanders fans. For good reason. The ninth overall pick int he 2008 NHL Draft hasn’t lived up to the expectations that fans had for him.
His best offensive season before this years 56 points, was in 2014-15 when he recorded 41 points. Seven years after making his debut in the league. Not what you’d expect from a player that was drafted after a dominant 96 point season in the OHL.
According to TSN’s Scott Cullen, Josh Bailey was “rather fortunate” for his career year:
"Josh Bailey was rather fortunate, blessed with a high (10.5%) on-ice shooting percentage on his way to a career-high 43 assists and 56 points, but also shot a career-low 7.5% on his way to 13 goals, despite a career-high 2.11 shots per game."
You’re Welcome Anders
I want to unpack that statement because I absolutely don’t agree.
10.5% on-ice shooting percentage. That might sound confusing, but that stat indicates the average shooting percentage for teammates while Bailey is on the ice.
Looking back over the last three years and Cullen is right. It’s high. Bailey’s previous high was 9.03 back in 2014-15. But when you look at those few years in question there’s something that becomes clear; Bailey finally had regular linemates.
*sTOI: Indicates shared 5on5 ice time
**All stats taken from stats.hockeyanalysis.
New York Islanders
That sTOI with Tavares is Bailey’s highest ratio in the last four seasons. Bailey was on the ice with Tavares, 5on5, 81% of the time. But before you think: “Oh. Well. That’s why. It’s Tavares.” Hold that thought.
The stat that Cullen attributes to Bailey’s “fortunes” is his teammates average shooting percentage. A stat, shooting percentage, that Tavares hit a career low (10.8%) this season. And where Anders Lee hit a career high shooting percentage with 17.8%.
Anders Lee’s success is well documented. His 34 goals this season gave us all hope that this was Lee’s true form. Not the 15 goal scorer from last season. His net-front presence, hand-eye coordination and sheer determination had finally culminated into a dominant NHL level power forward.
If any player was bumping Bailey’s on-ice shooting percentage it was Anders Lee. And there wasn’t anyone more responsible for Anders Lee’s success than Josh Bailey.
Of Lee’s 34 goals Bailey had the primary assist on nine and the secondary assist on four. Compared to Tavares’ three primary and seven secondaries. Just by pure numbers, Bailey beats out Tavares with 13:10. But that primary assist count (9:3) is the important one.
Josh Bailey had the biggest direct impact on Anders Lee’s scoring rate and thus shooting percentage than any other player on the Islanders roster. An Anders Lee shooting percentage that apparently meant that Josh Bailey was fortunate rather than the driver in his team’s success.
John Tavares is still the be all and ends all of this team. A career year for Josh Bailey isn’t going to come close in usurping that. But to say that Bailey was a benefactor of his success rather than a catalyst is wrong.