Josh Bailey had an OK 2018-19 seasons for the New York Islanders. All we wanted to know this season was if he could still be effective without John Tavares as his center?
With John Tavares leaving for the Toronto Maple Leafs in July there was a doubt that Josh Bailey could be an effective top-six forward for the New York Islanders this season. Like it or not, that’s what this season was going to be about for Josh Bailey. Could he be an effective top-six player without Tavares as his center?
After signing a six-year $30 million deal last February, the hope was that he didn’t need Tavares to put up points. If Bailey regressed back to that sub-40 point player the Islanders picked ninth overall in 2008 that $5 million AAV would quickly become an issue.
When you look at the points totals it was another good year for Josh Bailey. He scored 16 goals and 40 assists for 56 points. It was his third year in a row where he scores above 50 points. It was a good return, but there were still stretches where Bailey wasn’t as effective as he should have been. Particularly between March 7th and March 21st he went through a noticeable eight-game pointless streak.
He was noticeably good in the shoot out for the Islanders. In nine attempts he scored on three occasions. His 33 percent efficiency was the best on the team.
The Islanders biggest weakness this season was the power play, finishing at the bottom of the league. Last season Josh Bailey finished with 31 points on the power play. This year that fell by more than half to 14. That’s an incredible drop-off.
To be fair to Josh Bailey, he wasn’t the reason that the New York Islanders power play was so ineffective, but he certainly was a reason.
His decision-making on the right side was far too slow. His puck management was pedestrian and seemed to lack confidence. Bailey just held onto the puck for far too long before taking the shot or making a pass. Maybe that’s him getting used to a new system under Barry Trotz. In a well-run power play players know where their teammates are supposed to be. It didn’t seem like Bailey was at that level.
And perhaps next season that won’t be an issue. But in 2018-19 it was.
Bailey had an alright year. It wasn’t great, but under a new defensive system where few players improved offensively, it’s nice to see that Josh Bailey was still a 50+ point player. Now in year two under Barry Trotz perhaps Bailey can adapt his game on the power play and speed up his decision-making process.
I’m giving him a C+ grade for his 2018-19 season. It was an alright season, but there’s significant room for improvement going into next season. Hopefully, the New York Islanders will give Bailey, and the rest of the team some support, by bringing in another proper top-six winger to play with for the 2019-20 season.
But at the end of the season, it was clear that Josh Bailey is a top-six player even without John Tavares. But it’s also clear that he can’t do it all on his own.