New York Islanders 2017-18 Is Josh Bailey’s Critical Year

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 23: Josh Bailey
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 23: Josh Bailey /

Josh Bailey of the New York Islanders enters the 2017-18 season of the last year of his current 5-year contract. Bailey is one of nine unrestricted free agents for the blue and orange. This season is a critical year for Bailey.

New York Islanders fans have been very critical of Josh Bailey throughout his tenure on Long Island. This criticism has not been unwarranted.

Bailey is coming off his best season and if he can duplicate his performance from last year he could be in line for a big payday next July 1st.

Garth Snow traded down twice from the fifth overall pick in the 2008 draft to select Bailey, with the ninth overall selection. With hindsight, we can call this a shrewd move as picks five through eight were Luke Schenn, Nikita Filatov, Colin Wilson, and Mikkel Boedker.

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Snow did a lot of wheeling and dealing in the 2008 draft, picking up as many additional picks as possible. One of those extra selections was Travis Hamonic in the second round of pick number 53.

Believe it or not, none of the kids picked from five through twenty overall in the 2008 draft became stars with the exception of Erik Karlsson, who Ottawa took at 15. Before getting on Snow for not taking Karlsson, keep in mind he was the seventh defenseman taken in that year’s draft.

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Bailey has been a frustrating player to watch throughout his career. There have been many good moments for Bailey, especially when teamed with Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo.

Every time one thinks Bailey is about to take off he takes a step back. That happened in 2015-16 when Bailey produced 32 points, after posting his career high 41 the year before.

Bailey enters this season on his walk year and comes off best season by far. Posting 13 goals, 56 points, along with a +5 plus-minus. Playing with John Tavares quite a bit last year didn’t hurt Bailey posting his best offensive year.

The question now is will Bailey take a step forward or go back to form and take a step back once again?

Moving Forward

For Bailey to sign a long-term extension either during this upcoming season or after it, he will need to produce consistently at a high level for that to be a possibility. The Isles do have a lot of money coming off the cap but they have to lock-up the captain and if Brock Nelson puts it all together they will have to pay him as well. Also, keep in mind Anders Lee is a UFA in two years as well.

The Isles also have a number of talented young forwards in Mathew Barzal, Anthony Beauvillier, Josh Ho-Sang, Kiefer Bellows, and Michael Dal Colle. Their growth might push Bailey out the door even if he has a strong year.

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Odds are this will be Bailey’s last year on Long Island. Hopefully, he will go out with his best season to date.