The New York Islanders have struggled with inconsistency all season, but among it, Josh Bailey has emerged as a consistent force.
Josh Bailey was drafted by the New York Islanders with the ninth pick in the 2008 draft. As the Islanders first round pick, Bailey has always had high expectations in the eyes of most fans. Some would say Bailey has yet to live up to these expectations, and thus, has long been the subject of criticism from the fanbase.
This season, Bailey has found himself playing alongside John Tavares. Bailey has benefitted playing with Tavares and is enjoying a career season. Prior to this season, Bailey had a career high of 41 points. Currently, he sits at 51 points with eight games remaining.
Tavares was the first overall pick in 2009. The Islanders have yet to provide Tavares with a truly elite winger. Bailey, though, not an elite winger, has been a solid winger for the Tavares line. Early on, you can see the chemistry between Bailey and Tavares develop. Against the Wild in October, Tavares scored on a beautiful no look pass from Bailey.
The first line for much of this season has been Anders Lee–John Tavares-Josh Bailey. This trio has seen Lee set a career high in goals, and Bailey set his career high in points. Bailey is an excellent playmaker and has been able to shine this season.
The Islanders got off to a horrendous start to begin this season. So bad that they were sitting in last place in the eastern conference. They have since been able to climb into the playoff race.
One reason for the turnaround has been the play of the first line. Bailey may not be the elite winger fans want to see play alongside Tavares, but he has done a tremendous job playing alongside the captain this season.