New York Islanders: Stop the bashful Josh Bailey narrative, he is integral part of this team

New York Islanders. Josh Bailey (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
New York Islanders. Josh Bailey (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

While things are not exactly going well for the New York Islanders, Josh Bailey is the farthest thing from the issue I could imagine. While he is beloved by much of Isles nation, there is no need to even hate on him at all.

The New York Islanders are currently on a losing streak during a home stand, so perhaps talking about Josh Bailey, one of the most productive players on the Islanders is not the most important topic. However, as someone who has been on the Islanders during more bad times that even seems fair, the time to tell this story is now.

A large reason why things are going poorly for the Islanders (and I believe this is just a common wave amongst NHL teams, even the Sharks have lost three of four multiple times this season,) is the lack of offense. Outside of a six goal outburst in vs the Maple Leafs, the Islanders have failed to score more than one goal in three of the last four games.

A large part of the offense is the lack of production from the top six overall, a top six in which Josh Bailey is a constant fixture. So, it is easy to look at Bailey as a problem for the Islanders. This polarizing subject became even more apparent after he accidentally tapped the puck into the Isles’ net ensuring the Capitals won that game.

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However, this bashful rhetoric towards him is usually unwarranted and quite frankly unfair. Just search his name on Twitter and you can see just how many people seem to think the Isles flaws fall on, or are a direct result of him. On the contrary, there are people who also give him praise, this column is the latter.

In Bailey’s Islanders career, it seems underwhelming on the surface. He did make the all-star team for the first time last season, but had a massive fall off in the second half. Then this season, he does seem to struggle with Mathew Barzal, which helping Barzal is essentially the most important role on the Isles team this year, it’s all about the future.

But overall in his career, Bailey has still played in 780 games, all with the Islanders and stemming from an 11 year career. He has played at least 70 games in all but two season and that includes the lockout 2013 season. He is a long-tenured durable player. He ranks sixth all time in games played in Islanders history.

In those amount of games he has 426 total points, a lot of which have come in the last three seasons, those 426 points, that ranks 14th all-time in New York Islanders history. His 288 assists are solid enough to put him 11th all-time in Islanders history. His 138th goal puts him 19th in Isles history. He is the active leader of all three categories for the Isles right now.

But, despite the lack of success as franchise, he was around for playoff seasons (22 career playoff games played) and a playoff series win, but nothing incredible, he is still more clutch than it seems on the surface. His 17 game winning goals ranks 20th all-time in Islanders history.

He ranks in the top 20 in almost every stat in Islanders history, he ranks high in most of the ones he can control. He has been on some terrible teams, but has stuck around and has been one of the most loyal player this franchise has ever seen, his contract extension last season shows how much he values the team and the team had no problem giving him that many years. All of his stats I was bragging about, will only go up during the life of this contract.

All of this ties into this season too. He is currently tied for the team lead in assists, second in points, second in points, sixth in goals, second in power play points, second in-game winning goals, and has the highest face-off win percentage. His +/- is +11, so he’s not a liability on the defensively sound Islanders squad. So, in most of the stats, in particular the ones that are not as glorifying, Bailey is a grinder and is carrying his load.

While the Islanders offense needs a goal scoring boost, and Josh Bailey cannot keep assisting his way into the hearts of Islanders fans, he is still a great player and is producing at a normal level. It is a total team effort for the Isles. It is Barzal appropriately leading the way, but Bailey is not far behind and the veteran of this team in that locker room.

I understand the criticisms of Josh Bailey, too. I am not going to be blinded by the fact he is not shooting a lot for a top sox forward with just 100 shots. He can get aggravating to watch and when the Isles are losing and need points, it becomes aggravating if Bailey is not scoring, perhaps more goals and a takeover the game type attitude would bode well for him.

But overall, I think we just all need to stop and realize how much Bailey has done for this team over a long-period of time. He has been, and here is that “L” word again, loyal. But aside from being loyal which should go a long way with this fan base, he has been productive.

He has never been wildly productive, his 71 point season last year might be the highest he ever hits, but he is still consistently productive. He has done it for a long time over a large sample. It took his career a long time to take off, taking seven seasons to eclipse the 40 points mark.

But, once he got going, he has been fine. He is not asked to be the best player on this team, just a solid one, he has been and is again this year. He does a lot more for the Isles offense than we think, he has the intangibles.

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And while being “good” or “bad” is all subjective, based on opinion and what you want to personally believe a player is, the stats do not lie. Number 12 is padding up quite the resume for himself and has become important. Almost to the point where you can’t write about the history of the New York Islanders without him. He’s doing more with less, always has been.