Editorials

Islanders elite winger Josh Bailey turns 31 years old

Josh Bailey #12 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Josh Bailey #12 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Josh Bailey has been with the New York Islanders for 12 years now and this postseason, he showed how important he isn’t for them.

Josh Bailey turned 31 years old today. It feels like it was just yesterday that the New York Islanders traded down twice at the 2008 draft to select the fresh-faced 18 years old center.

With 865 games played in for the Islanders since they selected him ninth overall in 2008, Bailey is the fifth longest-serving Islanders in franchise history. With a full 82 game 2020-21 season, he could move up to third, passing Clark Gillies (872 games played) and Bob Nystrom (900 games played).

Bailey had a great season this year, highlighted by a monster postseason.

Big Postseason

Bailey’s 43 points in 68 games had him on pace to score 52 points over the season. That would have been his lowest return since 2015-16 where he put up 32 points in 81 games played. Bailey’s been a 56-71 point player for the Isles since 2016-17 and a vital piece in their top-six.

But this season, Bailey was used in a multitude of scenarios by head coach Barry Trotz. Top-line, middle-six, power play, and penalty kill. Trotz used Bailey up-and-down his lineup meaning Bailey didn’t have the advantage of consistent linemates.

His 311:07 next to Barzal (at 5on5) – the most alongside a forward on the team for Bailey – pails in comparison to the 788 that Barzal played with Lee or the 679 that Beauvillier played alongside Brock Nelson.

*TOI taken from NaturalStatTrick

While Bailey may not have been the go-to guy offensively during the regular season, he was the guy for the Islanders during their postseason run that ended in the Eastern Conference Finals.

In 22 games, Bailey scored 20 points (two goals, 18 assists). He finished fourth in helpers and eighth in points during the 2020 postseason.

That type of postseason production hasn’t been seen from an Islanders player since Ray Ferarro put up 22 points in 1993. The last time the Isles went to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Bailey will never convince some of his quality, but now that he turns 31 and has been with the Islanders for well over a third of those 31 years, he’s grown into the role of the veteran leader and one of their top players. His monster postseason proved that as did the last four years with 226 points for the Islanders.

Happy birthday to the Isles elite winger who’s been here for 12 years now.

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