In his eleventh NHL season, New York Islanders forward Josh Bailey has recorded his third 50 point season. Something no one thought could happen.
Drafted ninth overall in 2008 by the New York Islanders, Josh Bailey brought a ton of promise. Bailey scored 96 points in his draft year after all.
The Islanders were so bereft of talent in 2008-09 that Josh Bailey went straight into the NHL. Not many 19-year-olds go straight from junior to the NHL, but Josh Bailey did.
And through his first eight years in the NHL, it looked like the New York Islanders may have picked the wrong player. He never amassed more than 41 points in a season.
But over the last three seasons, Bailey has turned his offensive production up a notch. A notch we didn’t think he had in him.
50+ Point Player
With a primary assist on a Brock Nelson goal against the Ottawa Senators, Josh Bailey has officially scored at least 50 points in each of his last three seasons.
Over his eight previous seasons, he averaged just over 31 points a year. The verdict was in on Josh Bailey and the verdict wasn’t great. Bailey belonged in the NHL but was no more than a third line player (at best).
And then he got the chance to play alongside John Tavares in 2016-17. Through 82 games he scored 56 points. In 2017-18, again playing with Tavares, Bailey scored 71 points in 76 games and earned himself an All-Star nod.
Bailey became that offensive force the Islanders thought they were drafting back in 2008. Bailey wasn’t scoring buckets of goals, but he was creating time and space and finding his teammates with a pass.
Not only did Josh Bailey earn himself a trip to play in the All-Star game, but he also earned a six-year $30 million contract extension from the New York Islanders.
No one had any idea that Josh Bailey could produce like this. Not even staunch Bailey backers like me.
The real rest for Josh Bailey came in 2018-19. With John Tavares gone to the Toronto Maple Leafs, there would be an unofficial referendum on Josh Bailey’s abilities. With Tavares gone, could he produce? And would that new deal be immediately regrettable?
Good or Bad Deal?
Through 66 games and with 50 points the decision is clear that Josh Bailey can still produce without John Tavares. Bailey was not a product of Tavares.
Sure, he isn’t hitting the same highs as his 0.934 points per game of 2018-19. But no one on the Islanders is hitting the same offensive heights as they did in 2017-18.
(But then who cares. They’re winning.)
The six-year contract may still take a while to assess if it was worth it or not. But at least, for the time being, we know that Bailey is worth the $5 million a season.
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With 50 points on the season, Josh Bailey is on pace for 62 points. Josh Bailey is a top-six forward in the NHL. And no one would have guessed it just a few years ago.