New York Islanders Debates: Arguments For Josh Bailey Being Bad

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19: Josh Bailey (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 19: Josh Bailey (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

There’s an ongoing debate in the New York Islanders fan base. Well, it’s one them at least. Is Josh Bailey “good” at hockey? This side of the debate will focus on the: “Nope”.

Welcome to “The Debaters” a series on Eyes on Isles, where two staff members take a side on a give New York Islanders topic and try to convince you which side is right. In this edition; is Josh Bailey good or bad at hockey?

New York Islanders Josh Bailey is quite maligned by the fan base. Even putting up a 56 point season, Bailey just can’t get any love from the fans. We’ll look at why that is.

Why can’t New York Islanders fans get behind Josh Bailey? Why is he the player that gets all the pelters from the fan base? Why is Josh Bailey bad at hockey? That’s what I’ll try to answer here today.

I want to state that I’m a Josh Bailey fanboy. Look at my twitter profile and you’ll see it’s the first thing there. But in our debut of our “Debaters” series I wanted to take the other side of the coin. I want to see the world using Isles Realists tinted lenses and understand why Josh Bailey is bad at hockey.

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Go Back To The Start

To understand that, we have to go all the way back to draft day in 2008. Where the New York Islanders drafted Josh Bailey ninth overall. In his draft year with the Windsor Spitfires, Bailey put up 96 points and looked every bit of a potential quality NHL player.

His draft profile according to Hockey’s Future indicated that Bailey was going to be just as much:

"Bailey had already become an offensive force during the 2006-07, but he really picked up his game on both ends of the ice during the 2007-08 campaign. Used in all situations, Bailey has an excellent work ethic and can play in both ends of the ice. He is a very good playmaker and can feed his teammates the puck and take face-offs very well. Often used as a quarterback on the power play, Bailey’s hockey sense and leadership skills are excellent."

That’s what was expected of Josh Bailey before he even laced up his skates for the Islanders. The bar was set high. And through his NHL career Bailey just hasn’t lived up to that. Excluding the 2016-17 season. We’ll get to that in a bit.

Coming into the NHL, Bailey was to be an offensive force for the Isles. Something they just didn’t have. In 2007-08 the Isles top scorer was Mike “I was once married to Hillary Duff” Comrie, with 49 points.

So enter Josh Bailey in the 2008-09 season. No AHL stop. No back to junior for a year. Right into the NHL he went. He was the best thing going for the Islanders at the time.

Bailey would finish the season with 25 points. And fellow rookie Kyle Okposo would steal the headlines with a 39 point season. Finishing 14th in Calder Trophy voting.

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From that season on Bailey would stumble to a high of 41 points in 2014-15. He’d average just over 30 points a season. And never look like the player that was promised when he was drafted way back in 2008.

And that’s where the problem lies here. Bailey was drafted as an offensive player. But hasn’t proven to be one.

Everything Else He Brings

Then there’s the notion that Bailey’s a great two-way player. So let’s look at the stats on that. How about his 5on5 Corsi? Great two-way players are supposed to be positive possession players. Something Bailey isn’t. On average Bailey has a 49% 5on5 Corsi-For. Meaning he’s a negative possession player.

Bailey isn’t physical. Even though he’s 6’1″ 210lbs, he rarely throws his weight around. Registering an average 57 hits a season, or 0.7 per game.

I know he’s a “pass first ” type of player, but the opportunity should still present itself for him to get a shot on net every once and a while. Before 2016-17, Bailey was averaging just over a shot on net per game. With some seasons going as low a 76 shots total. Total!

Last Season

And then 2016-17 happens and Josh Bailey explodes. He puts up career numbers in points with 56. He registers over two shots on net per game with 173 shots. (That sound high but consider that Ovie took 313 and you’ll know it’s not).

It was outstanding. But, Bailey was on that first line with John Tavares the entire season. I still maintain that Bailey wasn’t a product of John Tavares. But it’s hard to argue when Bailey’s two best years – 2014-15 and 2016-17 in terms of production came when he was on Tavares’ wing.

Next: Isles Debates-Bailey Is Good At Hockey

Bailey barely scores, he doesn’t hit, he doesn’t shoot, and he isn’t a possession driver. I get why people aren’t high on Bailey and why last season stands out so much and why a number of Isles fans aren’t ready to sip the Josh Bailey Kool-Aid.