New York Islanders Josh Bailey didn’t deserve a good grade for his performance in 19-20.
The expectation for Josh Bailey this year was to continue to perform as a top-six forward for the New York Islanders. Over the last three seasons, Bailey has done just that by putting up 50 to 70 points seasons.
The Islanders didn’t bring in any top-six support during the offseason (although they tried), meaning Bailey would need to continue doing what he’s done over the last few years in order for the Islanders offense to stay afloat.
Through 68 games Bailey put up 43 points. Putting him on pace to score 52 points over a full season. That’s top-six production. He may not have ever hit 20 goals (yet), but Bailey is still putting up numbers that support his top-six role.
Except Bailey did all that while playing all over the forward line.
As Barry Trotz’s swiss army knife, Bailey was used up and down the Islanders forward lines. From first-line duties next to Mathew Barzal to filling out a veteran lead second line, and trying to breathe some life into a dead third line.
At 5on5 his most common linemate was Mathew Barzal with 311 shared minutes of ice time. That’s just over a third of his total 5on5 ice-time. Bailey was all over the place this season and still managed to put up 50+ points.
But when you look at some of his underlying numbers they don’t exactly scream top-six. When it comes to Corsi-For, Fenwick-For, expected Goals-For, and High-Danger Chances-For Bailey ranks mid-table at best for all 28 skaters that dressed for the Isles this season.
That’s not great.
(All underlying numbers from NaturalStatTrick.)
There isn’t going to be a year where Josh Bailey doesn’t have to prove himself to a number of Islanders fans. And while the stats sheet shows that he’s still a good player for the Islanders, his underlying numbers don’t necessarily back that up.
2019-20 Grade: C+
Josh is a better player than most give him credit for. Bumping him around the lineup didn’t do him any favors but I just can’t give him a good grade. He was a good player for the Isles but he didn’t have the same impact on the team he’s had over the past few years.
I don’t think this season is representative of what he is as a player today. Pair him on a line with Anders Lee consistently and watch both of them flourish.
As the Isles hit the ice for training camp in a few weeks I firmly believe Trotz has to give Anthony Beauvillier a shot next to Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle while Anders Lee should play next to Brock Nelson and Bailey.