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Islanders Need To Keep Anders Lee and Josh Bailey Together

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 02: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders celebrates his first period goal with Josh Bailey #12 while playing the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on December 02, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 02: Anders Lee #27 of the New York Islanders celebrates his first period goal with Josh Bailey #12 while playing the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena on December 02, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Anders Lee and Josh Bailey, two of the longest tenured Islanders at this point, and for good reason. They’ve both developed their game, for Bailey it took a little longer than Lee, and turned into productive top-six players.

Back in 2016-2017, the Islanders got this great idea of putting Lee and Bailey alongside John Tavares and for a year and a half, it was downright dominant.

Anders Lee had 74 goals over that two-year period and Josh Bailey combined for 127 points in that two-year span. There’s no denying that the unit was insanely productive. As we all know, John Tavares left after 2017-2018, and for the last three years, those two have moved around the lineup a lot.

When the two are together though, even without Tavares, they remain productive. In 507 minutes together since the start of 2018-2019, the duo has combined for a whopping 67.35 goals for percentage, a 52.74 high danger chances for percentage, and a 65.71 high danger goals for percentage according to Natural Stat Trick.

What does all of that mean? They generate a lot of high danger chances and don’t give up very many goals when they’re together. The two just seem to have great chemistry when they’re out there together.

Here’s a great example of that from the February 15 game against Buffalo:

A beauty of a feed from Bailey to Lee who is streaking towards the net and is able to get a puck on net. I mean, just look at Josh Bailey’s production since moving back to the top line this season. In his last eight games, he has eight points (1 goal, 7 assists).

With Anthony Beauvillier back and Brock Nelson struggling, there’s a discussion about reuniting Beauviller – Nelson – Bailey. Instead, I’d try something like this until Nelson begins producing again:

Lee – Barzal – Bailey

Beauvillier – Pageau – Eberle

Dal Colle – Nelson – Wahlstrom

Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck

This way, you keep the top line that’s producing very well together while also allowing your second best center (right now) to play alongside two higher-ceiling forwards than the third liners he usually runs with.

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Regardless, the point remains the same. Whatever you do, please keep Anders Lee and Josh Bailey together. It’s been proven to work.

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