Now that the team has officially announced that Josh Bailey will remain with the team for the rest of the season, it was only natural for us to take a look at how he has progressed as a player over these nine games. For the past few days I have been going over all of his stats and compiled them into neat tables for easy reading. It is the first time that I am diving into the area of stats – and it’s pretty interesting seeing how shifts, shots and how a player is used changes from game to game.
In the table below, you can see that Scott Gordon grew comfortable with Bailey as he saw what he was capable of – which is a natural progression. He has increasingly been given more ice time, more shifts, longer shifts and ample time on the team’s top power play. Is it really any surprise that the team’s power play has been very solid when you look at how Bailey has played?
With every positive, the small negatives come to light as well. Showing the number of shots that Josh has taken during the last 9 games, it is evident that he needs to shoot more. It’s not like he doesn’t know this – as he pointed this out in an interview with Greg Logan this morning:
“Once they told me I was staying, they were just talking and one of the things I said is that I’m starting to get my confidence as a player,” Bailey said. “The first couple games, I wouldn’t want the puck as much, and I’d be quick to get rid of it. But now, I’m feeling, ‘Give me the puck.’ I’m ready to hold onto it a little more and try and do the plays that I would do last year and try and play my game a little more.”
With time comes confidence, especially now that he doesn’t have to fear making a mistake as much as he may have in the previous games. However, Bailey’s game is a passing game – he gets in a position to play set-up man more often than not, so a lack of shooting doesn’t mean it’s something completely negative. If you look at the amount of attempted/blocked shots and even misses – he is shooting the puck, but maybe gripping his stick a bit too tight. Again, with confidence and time Bailey will learn which shots will garner the highest yield. A great example of this was the shot he rang off the post the other night on the power play, he held onto the puck and got it on net. Hunter was there to knock in the rebound. It is plays like that which Bailey is doing more frequently, so it is only a matter of time before he notches his first NHL goal.
In the table below you can find Josh’s ice time broken down into the total time on ice, total of shifts, average shift time, power play, shorthanded and even strength usage.
One thing we can see through the shift table is that a coaches trust in a player is directly related to the amount of ice time they recieve, this is something we already knew – but it’s nice to see clear as day statistically. Josh began his first game with 12:30 of ice time, 3 of which were on the power play – not too shabby. As time progressed and he began to become an integral part of the power play, Josh’s time shot up to almost 20 minutes in Boston and close to 5 minutes on the power play. Compare this to other players, and Josh is logging the same minutes as Bill Guerin, Doug Weight and and Trent Hunter (just to name a few).
Now for a poll. I know there are many out there who feel that the Islanders are rushing Bailey and that he should have the opportunity to play down in Juniors and the WJC – but I feel that this situation is different than the way other prospects were dealt with. This is a different management system with different individuals looking after our young future Islanders. I also pose this question to you, what difference would another year in Juniors honestly make if Bailey is ready now. Sure, he can win the cup with the Spitfires – but winning and experiencing winning isn’t proven to build winning players or personalities. If a player is ready to play now and help now – isn’t that the best thing when rebuilding? Bailey is under the tutelage of some veterans and a bright young coach – a coach whom he will likely play under for the foreseeable future.
Vote on it!!
Your comments are welcome, let’s hear why you chose one way or another!