As the Lockout rages one, we all wonder what it will take to save the NHL season. Until then, Islander fans have to look over to Europe to see how their favorite players are doing. It’s time to check in on individual Islanders who have fled over seas to keep skills sharp.
Josh Bailey has had a critical target on his back since making the team after being drafted 9th overall in the 2008 draft. His 98 points in the OHL during his draft year suggested he would be one of the offensive dynamo’s the Isles have thirsted after for years. After not immidietely putting up the expected playmaker numbers, many speculated if the Isles had rushed him into the NHL. However, what doesn’t always make the stats sheets is the all around dependable role Mr. Bailey has developed, particularly on the penalty kill. General Manager Garth Snow has built this current team around a core of young players, each one developing his role and expectations within the system. Josh Bailey is proving to be one of those integral parts of the core with his defensive dependability and now his scoring touch.
Two seasons ago, Mr. Bailey was sent to Bridgeport for a stint, which many agreed was needed for a confidence boost. Late last season, albeit with the pressure off, Bailey started showing flashes of the offensive excitement he can create. He finished the 2011-2012 season with 13 goals and 19 assists for 32 points on the season. Part of this offensive improvement was the switch from center to wing. With P.A. Parenteau’s departure to Colorado via free agency, one has to wonder (if and when this season begins) if we may catch a glimpse at what kind of magic and numbers Bailey could put up when paired on a wing with center John Tavares. P.A.’s big pay day from the Avalanche was thanks to the numbers he put up with the help of the budding superstar John Tavares’ play down the middle. Starting the season on wing and playing with Mr. Tavares, or down the line with prospect center Ryan Strome, Josh Bailey may finally fulfill his offensive potential.
After waiting to see what would come of the league and player’s lockout negotiations, Bailey finally chose to sign with the Bietigheim Steelers in Germany at the beginning of November. In four games so far, he already has 3 goals and 4 assists for 7 points. A strong start, for sure, and there’s no doubt Mr. Bailey will have a lovely time playing and hanging out in Germany, but let’s hope he has to book a return flight to the Island real soon.
Mr. Bailey doesn’t currently have a twitter handle, but hopefully his teammates Matt Moulson, Kyle Okposo and Michael Grabner can convince him to join the party. Until then, enjoy this welcome video Mr. Bailey made to his new fans of Bietigheim.