It’s been quite a run for the former first-round pick of the New York Islanders, as Josh Bailey played in his 800th career game Tuesday night against the Edmonton Oilers. He has played the sixth-most games in franchise history and sits 323 games behind Bryan Trottier for the team record. Bailey will likely pass Bob Bourne to move into fifth place later this season.
“I try not to think of these things too much,” Bailey said. “Those are things you kind of reflect on later on, but I am definitely proud of it for sure. To have done it all here is certainly special when you look at the other names on the list.Josh Bailey, NHL.com
Bailey’s Career Path
Drafted during the summer of 2008, Bailey debuted later that year after being sidelined with an injury sustained before opening night. He scored his first goal against the then-Phoenix Coyotes and scored seven times with 18 assists in his rookie season. The following year, Bailey played his first season with longtime Islanders’ captain John Tavares and had one of his best campaigns. He had 16 goals which was a career-high up until 2017-18 where he had 18.
Despite criticism from many fans throughout his tenure, Bailey became an All-Star for the first time two years ago and earned himself a six-year deal for $30 million to remain on Long Island. He spent most of his childhood living in Ontario, Canada and eventually got married to his longtime girlfriend Megan Bailey in 2015. Nearly a year later, he had his first of three kids.
Bailey has had quite a bit of big-time goals, but none were bigger than his overtime goal in Game 1 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Mathew Barzal came flying down the ice with Jordan Eberle who fired a backhand that hit the post behind Penguins goaltender Matt Murray. Waiting on the doorstep was Bailey, who deposited it into the back up of the net for the winner. He followed that up with a power-play goal in Game 2, eventually leading his team to a sweep.
Through the first three games this season, he has scored one goal and has been playing on the right wing with Michael Dal Colle and Brock Nelson. He gets plenty of time on the power play and occasionally sees time on the penalty kill.
“His hockey IQ is exceptional,” said head coach Barry Trotz. “He’s a family guy that and takes a lot of pride in the jersey. He’s willing to play any position we want him to so there is a reason why he had longevity.Barry Trotz, NHL.com
While Bailey played in his 800th game Tuesday, the Islanders young rookie Noah Dobson played in his first game in a disappointing 5-2 loss to the Oilers despite picking up his first NHL point. They have struggled to take advantage of their homestand to begin the season dropping two of the three games in their own barn. The team will head on the road for the first time this season Friday night against the Carolina Hurricanes before coming back to Long Island Saturday night, as the Islanders honor their 1979-80 Stanley Cup team before a matchup with the Florida Panthers.
Expect both Semyon Varlamov and Thomas Greiss to each start one of the games, as Varlamov was pulled after allowing four goals on 19 shots on Tuesday. Other than Anthony Beauvillier, they don’t have a single player with more than one goal and will need to get all four lines going against a tough team in the Hurricanes. The Islanders had success in the 2018-19 regular season against Carolina, but got swept in the second round of the NHL playoffs against the surging team.
Matt Rothman is a 2018 graduate from Florida Gulf Coast University receiving his bachelor degree in journalism. Originally from Long Island, he moved to Parkland shortly after high school. Matt worked as the assistant sports editor for his school paper, eaglenews.com in college becoming just one of nine students in his graduation class to serve over 1,000 community service hours. His goal is to travel to every Major League Baseball stadium, and has been to multiple US Open finals.