New York Islanders Josh Bailey had a career year for the second year in a row. What grade do you give a player that underperformed for so long, only to finally make headlines?
For eight seasons, New York Islanders Josh Bailey had to deal with the constant doubt and contention of his quality as a player. As a ninth overall pick so much was expected, and finally in 2016-17 it seemed to have come together for Bailey with a 56 point season.
And then Josh Bailey went and put up 71 points in 76 games this year. With 18 goals (career high) and 53 assists (career high), Josh Bailey had yet again a career year for the Islanders. At 28 you’d have to imagine that Bailey hit his ceiling at 71 points, but who knows now? That’s back-to-back career years for Bailey.
So what grade does a player like Bailey get? Tavares got an A for having a great year,
got an A+ for what will be a Calder Trophy winning year. What does Bailey deserve?
Give Him An A
I’m not going to bury the lead here, Josh Bailey deserves an A there’s no way to argue otherwise. It’s not only because of his career year, although that certainly plays a large part in his grading. And why wouldn’t it? He put up almost a point per game. A point per game!
More from Eyes On Isles
- Islanders key to success: Load management with goalies
- Islanders Zdeno Chara trending in the right direction
- Islanders: Semyon Varlamov Deserves Benefit of the Doubt
- Islanders Ilya Sorokin becoming number one goalie
- Islanders Zach Parise Was Quiet in Return to Minnesota
If John Tavares and Mathew Barzal get points for being above a point-per-game, then surely Bailey deserves to get some credit for getting real close.
Say what you will about the effect Tavares has on Bailey, but there’s something to be said about the effect Bailey has on Tavares. Maybe it’s down to the fact that Bailey’s been with the Islanders since Tavares’ first day. We all thought that Eberle with his few weeks of playing with Tavares back in 2009 would be fruitful. But how about a guy who’s played with him since 2009?
So far the focus has been on Bailey’s pure production boon. But how about the effect he’s had on the Islanders power play? Of his 53 assists on the season, 26 of them came on the power play. Just under half. His previous career high on the power play was last season where he had nine power-play assists.
That’s a 288% increase on the man advantage. An increase that has helped transform the Islanders power play from 28th in the NHL last season with 15% efficiency to sixth this season with a 23.2% efficiency.
That’s why Josh Bailey gets an A for his 2017-18 season. Because it was transformative, not only for the expectations we now have for him but for what it has done for the New York Islanders.