The JT Economy Comes Home

By Danny Radical


Welcome to part two of the JT Economy. This piece focuses on how the Islanders went from outwardly trying to find a fit for JT to make rich, to how Garth Snow used his own draft picks to ride coattails on JT, which had the impact of inflating statistics for Snow's picks, and making it seem like Snow is good at drafting, of which is he not. A Matt Barzal doesn't fix missing the playoffs twice as often as you make them, sorry.

Regarding looking outward, the 2013-14 season was the last season that the JT economy really looked to other teams and players for the support that Tavares needed. Yes, there have been Andrew Ladd's and Jordan Eberle's coming into the team, but how many games combined do they have on line 1? 20? The last real effort at accommodating JT with imports was 2013-14.

That season was the last time Bouchard would play in the NHL, and led to the promotion of Kyle Okposo to the first line, where the JT economy continued to work its magic. Okposo put up a career high in goals, assists, and points, which makes sense.


It took a year or so for Okposo to realize the JT economy. In the 2015-16 season, Okposo was finishing off the 5th year of a backloaded contract. His cap hit was $2.8 million, but he actually made $4.5 million as he put up over 20 goals in 2 of three seasons on JT's wing, and was on pace for over 20 until injuries ended his season. He wanted to get paid, yet Garth Snow didn't even offer the career Islander a contract offer.

Snow saved that offer for Andrew Ladd. Ladd becomes another player who got paid in the JT economy before he even took a shift with Tavares, just like Bouchard and Boyes. And just like Bouchard, Tavares had nothing to work with there. And just like everyone, why would you give a generational player so many spare parts and opponents toss offs?

As a benefit of playing with Tavares, Okposo received a $42 million deal with the Buffalo Sabres. As a wing of John Tavares, Okposo averaged 60 points per 70 games. In the first two years in Buffalo, Okposo is averaging...want to guess? 45 points per 71 games. A 25% drop off in productivity for a 33% raise. Another player, just like Parenteau, Moulson, and Boyes, who left JT and saw a decrease in his statistics.


Not without JT, Matt!

The 2014-15 season also began the next wing experiment for the first line with Tavares. Josh Bailey- a guy that averaged 32 points a year, lacks grit, and a man without a defined role other than a top 6 forward because Garth said so- started appearing on wing with Tavares. Not shockingly, he topped 40 points for the first time in his career. The next season, without a regular gig with Tavares, his point totals dropped to 32, but with the departure of Okposo in 2016-17, Bailey became a full time contributor on the first line.


One of these things is not like the other...

Bailey put up 56 points in his first full year with Tavares- stats similar to the first season of PA Parenteau. And in his second season as coattail rider to Tavares and second year linemate Anders Lee? Bailey had 50 points by New Years Eve. Again, stats similar to PA Parenteau.

You know what happens next- Bailey enters the JT economy. For his loyal passing the puck to someone else, Bailey was given a 6 year, $30 million contract. A STEAL, as per #IslesKoolAid. But you want to know something funny?

Bailey's negotiations likely began in January 2018. At the end of January 2018 Bailey was close to 60 points. His new deal was signed in late February, when Bailey had 62 points. Yes, he was averaging 6 points a month in 2018. On the top line. And on power play unit #1. Bailey's 17 point a month pace may have been tough to maintain, but after signing that deal in late February? Bailey's production SLOWED DOWN to 6 points a month.

After signing a deal- zero points for the rest of February. 7 points in March. 2 points in April. 9 points over 2 months. This is monumental. Why?

Josh Bailey has done something no other player in the JT economy has done. His production after signing a lucrative new deal DECREASED while playing with Tavares.

:48 in.

Look at precedent. Moulson- improved with every new Islanders contract. Parenteau? Improved with every new contract. Boyes? Improved with his only contract.

Even if you look at the dud of the bunch-Bouchard? Hardly played with Tavares, waived for the declining production of 9 points in 28 games. Bouchard did not play 82 games on line 1. But Bailey? 9 points in 19 games of post JT economy decline.

No player that has ever played with JT has seen a regression after being awarded a new contract. That's how bad Josh Bailey is.


Would have been available in the 3rd as well.

And did Tavares regress? He finished with a point per game on the season. The other wing Anders Lee regress? He ended up with 40 goals. No, the regression came from one place. One often pregnant place.

Now, here's a prediction for Anders Lee. Lee was coming off of a contractual PAY CUT when he benefited from the career year of Ryan Strome (maybe Lee created it?) in 2014-15 with 25 goals. The Islanders rewarded him with a substantial backloaded raise to $3.75 million dollars per year for 4 years. The Strome effect? That's a different tale.

Lee was moved to first line wing the same season as Bailey, 2016-17. The results? From 15 goals the year before to 34. This past season? 40 goals and a career high in assists and points. After reading this piece, you know why that happened. Even if you want to say that 25 goals with Strome was good- and it is good- 25 goals is 63% of 40 goals. Tavares made Lee 37% better. Tavares made Lee great. At least offensively.


We don't even have to speculate as to whether or not Lee will get a raise in the summer of 2019 when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Lee's backloaded contract paid will pay him $5 million next season. Do you think he's taking anything less per year? The only speculation regarding a Lee contract is just for how much, and if Garth Snow offers it, for years or 7.

At this point, I want to reiterate a core truth of the JT economy. Whether the Islanders or some other team offers a player a raise because of the increase in their statistics, there is one reason behind those stats and a proven thesis- the JT economy exists because a player plays with John Tavares. We have many, many examples of players who leave Tavares while still benefiting from the JT economy. None of those players flourish without JT. ZERO PERCENT.

Every single player that left the wing of Tavares to chase fortune elsewhere saw significant declines in their offensive production. EVERY SINGLE ONE.


Tough without JT, isn't it?

The only one that came close was PA Parenteau, who had a nice season in a lockout shortened year, and once returned to 20 goals years later. Not exactly a compelling counterargument.

So...getting back to salary cap eating deals. Does anyone in their right mind think that if Josh Bailey got to the free market this summer and got his payday elsewhere, does anyone really think that Bailey is putting up 70 points? If Okposo declined 25% and he's a goal scorer, you can expect Bailey to be back to his pre-JT average 32 points per season.

And shame on Garth Snow for sticking his pet projects on the wings of JT as a desperate attempt to save his failed effort at being a GM. Snow is inflating player stats that he drafted to make him look like he's a valuable at what he does. HE IS NOT. He's a grabasstic pile of digested saturated fats sitting around like the smartest man in the room because he can put guys he drafted next to JT. There's only one thing Garth excels at when he's in the room. He's the fucking fattest fuck.

We're going to end part one with this thought- JT has made many players wealthy. He has turned AHL chumps into multimillionaires. He's elevated bums like Bailey into...actually, Bailey is the only full time winger to play with JT and not score 20 goals. Jesus Christ is that guy useless. But we'll end with this thought:

Is the JT economy bigger than the guys that play on his line? Does the JT economy actually have an impact that's worth something astronomical, like over a billion dollars astronomical?Hang on, true believers- you'll find out that answer in part three of our series.