Monday, April 18, 2011

Would the Real Josh Bailey Please Stand Up?

At the NHL Entry Draft in June 2008, New York Islanders GM Garth Snow opted to trade down from fifth to ninth overall.

Many fans were bewildered at how, with players like Nikita Filatov and Luke Schenn available, Snow could justify his actions.

The move did little to comfort Islander Country, to say the least, and when Snow got up to the podium and called Josh Bailey's name, all hell broke loose.

As it turns out, the Isles decision to swap draft positions ended up a solid one, from a logistical standpoint. Luke Schenn hasn't exactly been the second-coming of Chris Pronger, while Filatov is yet to crack the Blue Jackets' lineup for a full season, and, while in the NHL, has been unable to produce offensively.

Had the Islanders not rushed Josh Bailey or not chosen him it all, instead selecting Cody Hodgson (who I personally believe will have the better career), things would have worked out in their favor.

Unfortunately, depth issues forced the team to keep him on the roster, when he should have spent another year in the OHL with the Windsor Spitfires. Think about what Bailey would have gained in delaying the start of his NHL career: Another full schedule to season his game, a Memorial Cup series and a probable World Junior Championship appearance for Team Canada.

No doubt, Josh Bailey would have been far more prepared for the rigors of NHL life, had the Islanders been patient with him. Instead, they severely altered his development as a hockey player and I therefore place the primary blame on Garth Snow and Scott Gordon for doing so.

Additionally, having Blake Comeau and Matt Martin for linemates doesn't exactly bode well for the youngster, and the Isles aren't doing Josh any favors by constantly switching him back and forth between the center and wing positions.

However, this does not mean Bailey's off the hook. There's something to be said about the way a player commits to self-improvement and, while he's definitely gotten stronger by working out and training in the offseason, Bailey hasn't exhibited that he can perform at the pro level on a consistent basis.

The talent is there, we know it and have seen it.

It's time for Josh Bailey to take his game and bring it to the next level. When he was sent down to the AHL, he made a habit of hijacking the score sheet every night. Bailey was producing points like they were going out of style.

I think it's simply a lack of confidence. When I see Bailey play on this Islander team, it just seems as if he doesn't have any.

This is even more evident when it comes to shooting the puck. Josh Bailey happens to be a terrific passer, there's absolutely no question about that. The problem is, he's got a cannon for a shot and he hardly makes use of it. He's not hungry enough out there and he's thinking far too much, as opposed to executing, which is something he's fully capable of.

Josh Bailey has the tools to become a reliable, number two center in this league. It's just a question of when he'll come to that realization.

Follow Daniel Friedman on Twitter: @nyifaceoff360

Comments are welcome.


Loaf24 said...

totally agree, I think Bailey can be a great number 2 center on this team. When he plays with confidence as he did in the beginning of this season we saw that he has potential to carry the team. The problem is if he has one bad game all confidence is gone. I just hope the isles don't give up on him before he comes to his full potential

Daniel Friedman said...

I don't think they'll give up on him just yet. However, I DO think they will dangle him as bait and see who bites, just to see what type of deal they might get for him.

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