Editorials

New York Islanders Three Biggest (Positive) Surprises in 2017-18

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders celebrates his first NHL goal at 1:15 of the second period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Mathew Barzal #13 of the New York Islanders celebrates his first NHL goal at 1:15 of the second period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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ANAHEIM, CA – OCTOBER 11: Josh Bailey #12 of the New York Islanders looks on uring the first period of a game against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center on October 11, 2017 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Josh Bailey

There’s no doubt that Josh Bailey had a good 2016-17. With 56 points on the year, the former first-round pick and ninth overall in 2008 had finally put up good numbers. Finally!

For eight seasons before that, Josh Bailey toiled with 30-40 point seasons. His highest before 2016-17 was 41 points in 2014-15. Bailey had a good season last year. There’s no doubt about it.

Some of us thought he could repeat, as in another 50-60 point season. And most thought he’d regress back to the mean of 30-40 point Bailey. Both had merit. No one thought Bailey would explode for almost double his career high.

Through 36 games this season Josh Bailey is on pace for 105 points. Let that sink in before I write it again. Josh Bailey is on pace for 105 points in this season.

To put that in perspective, add Josh Bailey’s last two seasons, including his career-high 56 point 2016-17 and two-fifths of 2014-15 and that will equal what Bailey is on pace for now.

It’s outstanding. Who knew that the winger John Tavares needed from the start was drafted the year before? Jack Capuano certainly didn’t, even though he saw what they could do together back in 2014-15 when injuries forced him to play the two on the same line.

Whatever kept the two apart is inconsequential now. It doesn’t matter. What matter is how the two are even better than they were last season.

It’s one heck of a surprise that Josh Bailey is on pace for Art Ross trophy numbers. Just last season the fan base would have traded Bailey in a heartbeat. Now most – some still haven’t forgiven Bailey for the previous eight years and would still trade him in a second – can’t wait till he’s extended (immediately after Tavares).

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