Josh Bailey was drafted with the 9th pick in the 2008 NHL entry draft. Crazy to think that this coming June, it will be 10 years since that moment. Looking back to that time, it wasn’t exactly an ideal situation. The islanders had the 5th overall pick going into that draft. They would trade that to the Leafs and swipe first round picks. The isles would move back to the 7th pick which was then moved to Nashville and they would end up picking Bailey with the 9th overall pick.
10 years after there are still a lot of people who just don’t like having Bailey on the team. A bunch of different reasons behind that. The main reason is if you look back At the 2008 draft a lot big time players that play today we’re drafted after him. You can truly go through any draft year from any sport and find a player drafted and better players drafted after them.
Bailey’s career got off to a rough start. Despite signing his entry level contract on his 19th birthday, he started the season on the IR. He would end up scoring 7 goals and 18 assist his rookie season. The major positive out of his rookie season, the Isles were so bad, they won the lottery and were able to draft John Tavares in the 2009 draft.
Along time a lot has happened with Josh Bailey. 10 years in the league and everybody can tell you, within the last 3 seasons, he has developed into a really solid player. As per @JoeSection214 “Josh has turned into a real solid all-around player. He’s playing with a confidence that I’ve never seen from him before. He’s making moves and doing things that you’d never see from him years ago. It’s really good to see and fun to watch him play this way.” I honestly couldn’t agree more with Joe. For years I have wanted the isles to cut ties with Bailey. I felt as if there we were other guys in the minors or free agents that can do exactly what we can do until the past couple of seasons.
Josh has turned himself into that guy on the Islanders. He started off being the guy that wasn’t really doing anything. Wasn’t scoring goals, wasn’t making plays that mattered, he was just there on the team. A lot of people just wanted him gone from the team. Now he is the guy who people just can’t decide on. He is playing way too well to hate this season and it’s time to consider him an elite and valuable part of the New York Islanders.
Coming off a career season of 56 points, Bailey is off to a hot start in the 2017-2018 season. Through 17 games, he currently has 18 points, which puts him on an 87-point pace for this season. Last season, he was placed on a line with John Tavares and Andres Lee and that line worked wonders. With the addition of Jordan Eberle this season, that bumped Bailey off the top line. After about 7 games, coach Weight decided to put the line back together. Bailey, despite having a strong start to the season, didn’t miss a beat rejoining his line mates from last season.
It’s also hard to not root for a guy who is such a good person off the ice. Just as @tomlofaso329 of the Blue and Orange army said “He’s routinely progressed since we drafted him. He’s a class act on and off the ice, and one of the nicest guys I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. So, happy he’s been lighting it up the last few years he’s worked so hard for it and deserves it.” No matter what the outcome of the game, no matter how his night was, Bailey was one of the few guys who would always stop by the ramp at the coliseum and come out and sign autographs and take pictures with the fans. He has a lot of loyal fans that have enjoyed watching him play since the beginning. The blue and orange army has a song for when he is on the ice.
Hate or love him, at the end of this season Josh Bailey’s contract will end with the New York Islanders. As fans, we’ve seen this story too often. Most recently just 2 years ago. The front office decided to let both Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo leave via free agency. With both Josh Bailey and John Tavares contracts ending at the end of the season, the team has to do everything in their power not to lose both guys. With the team starting to finally find secondary from guys like Mathew Barzal, it’s time the front office realizes the importance of the veteran guys. You know, the ones that can play, not the guys over the age of 37 in which we overpay for. It may have taken a long time, but Bailey is finally paying with confidence, and constantly playing with it.