After coming off the best season of his career can New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey grow off it or does he regress back to the mean?
Josh Bailey is the New York Islanders longest-tenured player and it’s sure been an interesting ride. The first eight years of his career were very mediocre. He eclipsed the 40 point mark just one time and at times he just looked flat out bad on the ice.
That all changed in 2016-2017 when he got the bump up to the Tavares line. He set a career high in points, 56 (13 goals, 43 assists) while playing with Anders Lee and John Tavares. Last year, he was a point per game player for most of the year.
Injuries slowed him down but he finished with 71 points in 76 games. That’s a pace of 77 points over a full 82 game season. Despite back to back solid years, Bailey signed a team friendly contract with the Islanders this past February.
Bailey’s cap hit is just $5 million for the next six years. If Bailey produces like he did the last two seasons that’s a steal, but some fear he’ll regress.
The reason regression comes up is because there’s no John Tavares anymore. As we know he took his talents north of the border, so Bailey will be centered by a new guy and who that is is yet to be seen.
In all likelihood, the Islanders top line is going to be Beauvillier – Barzal – Eberle. If that’s the case you can assume that Anders Lee and Josh Bailey will be centered by either Brock Nelson or Jan Kovar.
Clearly, neither of those guys are at the talent level that John Tavares is, but they can still be effective with either of the two. Remember, it was Josh Bailey that was setting up Anders Lee a lot so if you put them together again they should produce.
We also have to define what a regression is. Is anything less than 70 points a regression or is it 50 or below that’s a regression? I think it’s the latter. Bailey likely won’t produce like he did last year but I don’t think he crashes and burns either.
I think I’d take the under here. Josh Bailey probably finishes the year between 57-63 points with his new linemate. If he gives you those numbers you should be satisfied with his play. At only $5 million if you’re getting 60 points from him that’s amazing value.
We’re going to have to wait and see but as things stand right now, it’s hard for me to see Josh Bailey replicate his 2017-2018 season.