New York Islanders Josh Bailey Similar Production in 2017-18 Season

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 15: Josh Bailey
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 15: Josh Bailey /

In 2016-17 New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey hit a career high 56 points in 82 games. Can we count on that being his new production ceiling going into 2017-18?

Josh Bailey is likely the most controversial New York Islanders player at the moment. You either accept that what he did last season was a sign of his true potential. Or you remember the years of 30-41 points and still think he’s underachieving.

And people get real salty when they find out you’re in the opposite camp.

I’m firmly in camp “that’s the real Bailey”. There’s no denying what he did in the previous season was underachieving on his ninth overall draft pick in 2008. But what Bailey did in 2016-17 was the real deal. A 50-60 point player seems like the level Bailey is at.

And I think he hits that level again in 2017-18, even though I think he won’t be playing on the same line with John Tavares again. He can thank the acquisition of Jordan Eberle for that one.

He’ll shift down to the second pairing with whatever second line center the Isles decide to go with: Brock Nelson or Mathew Barzal are the two names that I keep going back and forth to.

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It Was No Accident

I wrote just a month ago that Josh Bailey’s production in 2016-17 wasn’t an accident. It wasn’t simply due to the fact that he played with Tavares. It wasn’t that easy. It never is.

When you look at Bailey’s numbers you’ll see that he made the players around him better. Take Anders Lee for example. On Anders’ 34 goals last season, Bailey hold nine primary assists and three secondaries. More than any other player on the team.

Must Read: Bailey's Success Wasn't Luck

I understand that playing with one of the top ten players in the league is going to help the stats column. But where Bailey got the bulk of his points was off the stick of Anders Lee, a natural finisher.

Brock Nelson, although of a different mold, is a natural finisher. His wrist shot is unstoppable when he can get the space. And that’s where Bailey comes in.

That’s why, based on the current roster, Brock Nelson should be the Isles second line center. Even if Barzal makes the team out of camp. I’d rather have Barzal playing sheltered third line minutes and opposition than exposing him on the second line. We already know he’s susceptible to being star struck.

Next: Isles Lack Grit With Hamonic Trade

Josh Bailey should put up equal numbers to 2017-18. Somewhere within 50 points. I don’t think he goes out there and scores 60 (although that’d be nice). What we saw last season was the real Josh Bailey with more of the same coming in 2017-18.