Throughout the next month plus, we’ll be reviewing the season that was and over-analyzing the various players that contributed to it. That’s what the offseason is for, after all. This is the first in the series.
Josh Bailey — LW
/C — #12
11-8-19 in 38 games
Most often seen at: Frans Nielsen’s left wing
Contract status: Restricted Free Agent, $1.3 million in 2012-13 (1.05M cap hit)
Obligatory YouTube video of: His shootout winner in Philadelphia on March 28th
Thoughts on 2012-13: Bailey returned a bit late to the lockout shortened season after being injured while playing overseas, missing the first ten games. Once he was back in the lineup, Bailey returned to the left wing spot that he had success with at the end of 2011-12 and never went back to his traditional center position.
In 38 regular season games, Bailey notched 19 points in 38 games (.50 points per game) and found success on the second line with Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen. Maybe due to recovering from the injury or maybe just off to a slow start, Bailey didn’t register a goal during this first ten games. That changed down the stretch as he finished off the year with six goals and four assists in April (13 games). He certainly had a hand in the Islanders successful stretch run to reach the post-season.
Once the playoffs started Bailey was held off the scoresheet in terms of goals, but still notched three assists in the series, and was shifted to John Tavares’ left wing.
Bailey stepped up for the stretch run this year, helping the Islanders playoff run and upping his points per game average to .50 from a career mark of .41. With only 38 games this season, that’s over a very small sample and still not quite what should be expected of Bailey, especially if the Islanders want to continue to move forward. The team needs the Bailey of April and May, not the one who was still ineffective at the beginning of the season. There have been such flashes of Bailey before, so it’s tough to say if this is something he can continue over the long-term.
Bailey, unlike other players on the team of similar age, does not have a long-term deal with the team and is a restricted free agent this summer. We saw a better Bailey this year, but with a short season and not a significant improvement, it’s hard to imagine him getting a long-term deal over the summer. If the Islanders take another step forward next year, Bailey is going to have to continue to improve. We’ll see exactly how much the team believes in him when his contract is renewed later this summer.
Add your thoughts and post-season grades in the comments.