Islanders Josh Bailey’s important unseen contribution
Josh Bailey’s contributions to the New York Islanders go well beyond his top-six production. The man rarely puts his team at a disadvantage.
Rarely are NHL players both productive and disciplined. In a game that’s as fast and physical as NHL hockey, it seems impossible for a player to not get penalized with relative frequency. New York Islanders Josh Bailey is that exception. He plays a ton of minutes and rarely gets penalized.
Recently, Hockey Viz’s Micah Blake McCurdy had a talk about penalty rates in the NHL for the Isolation Hockey Analytics Conference. There, McCurdy highlighted, amongst other things, players that just don’t take penalties or whose teams aren’t taking penalties when this player is on the ice.
This list included guys like Alex Pietrangelo, Sam Reinhart, and the New York Islanders own Josh Bailey.
Staying Out On The Ice
Since 2017-18, Josh Bailey has played 3030:27 5on5 minutes for the New York Islanders. There are eight players who’ve logged more ice time than Bailey in that span. Nick Leddy leads the way with 3893:42 5on5 minutes.
Over that period, Bailey has been penalized (at 5on5) nine times. Only Devon Toews and John Tavares have fewer penalties than Bailey since 2017-18 while playing at least 1,000 minutes at 5on5 with the Islanders.
Over the last three years, no one has played as frequently as Josh Bailey for the Islanders and taken fewer penalties. As Josh Bailey’s role in the Islanders offense has increased significantly he’s consistently played a disciplined game and rarely put his team at a numerical disadvantage.
Expanding that out to the entire league shows just how rarely Bailey is sent to the sin bin. Only a single player has fewer penalties than Josh Bailey since 2017-18 that has played at least 3000 5on5 minutes; Ryan O’Reilly. That’s it. That’s the list.
Half the fan base is still upset at him for being a 40-point player through his first eight years in the NHL. So this isn’t likely to go over well with them. But Josh Bailey’s value for the Islanders is wildly underrated.
Not only is he finally a productive player for this team. Not only does he fit into just about every position up top. But he’s a consistent and disciplined player that rarely puts his team in a disadvantageous position.
The average NHL player took a penalty every 111 minutes of 5on5 time in 2019-20. Josh Bailey has none in 868 minutes of 5on5 time this season. If you don’t think that’s valuable I don’t know what to tell you.
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In a game like hockey where every advantage can totally sway a game – like a single power play – having a player that gives the Islanders what Josh Bailey gives them is incredibly important. No matter how you feel about the player.