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Why Josh Bailey Belongs in the Hockey Hall of Fame

By Danny Radical

As every Islander fan knows, the MVP of the Islanders 2016-17 non-playoff team was Josh Bailey, the former top 10 draft pick who averages the same 12.5 goals a year that a solid 4th line center pulls off. And many Islanders fans are calling already for Bailey to be the MVP of this early 2017-18 season.

https://www.msgnetworks.com/videos/expectations-for-young-isles-keys-to-successful-campaign/

Why push for Bailey to be the MVP? Well, because the folks promoting him are not Islander fans. They're #IslandersKoolAid. Because in the modern history of the NHL, no player has won the MVP scoring 13 goals in a hot year. Even Adam Oates, who fed 80 goals to Brett Hull, didn't make an impact on hockey history. Largely because he didn't score 80 goals (Oates career average were 21 goals and 66 assists per 82 games, in case you were wondering). And for those who say passing equals hockey sense? Look at how Oates did as a head coach.
Now, folks who read twitter or who know me already know my bias towards specific statistics. And the individual stat I lean most heavily on- goals scored.


Not total team goals scored, although that is a barometer of finishers. No, I mean human beings individually shooting pucks into nets. And sometimes, there is a passing play that created that goal. Even more rare is a two pass play that directly led to a goal. Not always, but usually, that second assist is a meaningless assist.


And the King of the meaningless assist is Josh Bailey.


I shall make a case in four parts. Part one is Bailey's career year.


In Bailey's career year, he had 56 points. That is a solid season...maybe. How did Bailey score his points?
Well, he had 13 goals and 43 assists. And he had a shooting percentage about 40% lower than his usual average. Why mention the shooting percentage?


Because Bailey had two linemates. One was all world player (but not an MVP as compared to Bailey, as per #IslesKoolAid) John Tavares. The other was ultimate garbage goal man Anders Lee. Why mention these guys? Two facts.


1) Lee scored a majority of his goals from very close to the net. Bailey producing a career low in shooting percentage allowed Lee to stuff in weak shots into goal which inflated Baileys assists. And Bailey's career low in scoring percentage is because most of the shots that he takes won't go in anyway. Like his whole career proves, which is why he doesn't bother shooting.

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Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! Shots! 21 in 17 games!

2) Tavares had close to a career low in points. Why is that? Because you can not get assists from a guy who can't score goals. You can however get assists without scoring goals. Now, Tavares had flat assist numbers from the season before, where he played on a first line with rotating teammates- including Bailey. But if you look at the 2014-15 Islanders, they weren't exactly blessed with great goal scorers, which is why Tavares's assist numbers have been down from his 2014-15 career high. Interestingly, even taking injuries into consideration, Tavares still had a lower than average number of goals. Which is odd, considering he was playing with "elite" playmaker Bailey. Plus, does Bailey get injured like that pussy Tavares? Nah. He led the league in games played last season. No joke!


What was the end result of the great chemistry from this line? The Islander missed the playoffs.

More of the same?


All of this is inarguable. I mean, you can try, but you'd be wrong before you start. These are facts. And that leads to part two: Bailey gets preferential treatment without preferential play.


New-ish Islanders head coach Doug Weight took the two players that the Islanders acquired to play with Tavares- Jordan Eberle and Andrew Ladd- and put both outside of the first line to make room for Bailey. Imagine your house had a leaky faucet and your plumber said that for $12 million it'd be perfect. Then you dropped $12 million and it still wasn't fixed? You'd be pissed. Or you'd be stupid.


I'm not saying that using two failed first liners doesn't make a second line better. I'm asking if you went to your doctor - say his name was, oh, Dr. Snow- and asked him to cure your ills, and he spent 30 months failing at it (forget 135 months and counting)? You'd go find a new doctor.

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Remember when they traded for this $6 million plan?Where'd he go? Why can't Bailey make Barzal better?

Part three: the invisible plays of Josh Bailey.

For the ones who think that way, here's a quiz: which of the following scenarios exist:
A) Unassisted goals.
B) Ungoaled assists.


If you chose B, you are #IslesKoolAid. And likely stupid.

Take for example the November 7 2017 Islanders game versus the Edmonton Oilers. The Islanders lost the game in overtime 2-1. And what did Bailey, riding a 4 game point scoring streak do? Nothing. Just like the prior 4 games.
What? He had 4 game assist streak! Did he? So in those 4 games, how many times did Bailey use his hot hand to beat a goalie?

Zero. Not once. In fact, in those 4 games coming into the Edmonton game, Bailey had one shot on goal. Over four games. On line one. That's not a typo.

Bailey's utility in scoring comes from the inability of a goalie to block a shot from a teammate of Baileys, allowing them to actually score.

In short, Bailey is useless unless someone else is working hard.

And Bailey's assists are not like 99 sitting behind the net, hitting the first cutter for a tap in goal. Bailey thrives on the following kinds of assists:
1) His weak shot is saved by a goalie, and someone stuffs in a rebound. If a failed shot leads to an assist, is it actually an assist? Statistically yes, but COME ON!
2) He passes to a teammate somewhere before mid ice, only to watch that guy skate in, beat a few defenders, and score a goal.
3) Bailey passes to someone else, who makes a nice pass to set up a goal.

Then there the rare:
1) Bailey passes on purpose to a guy by the goalmouth, who scores.

And then the super rare:
1) Bailey scores a goal.

Bailey's goal scoring is so weak, there's even a song about it.

No.

Now, if you said Josh Bailey has 200 assists in a season, I would definitely say that it was legendary. But 40? Those are assists numbers that defensemen get.

Part four: Bailey is not a playmaker.
Now people will want to debate the whole secondary assist thing, saying that they're just as important as first assists, or as important as goals. It's not the strongest case to make, especially against goals. There may be another way, however, to rate King Playmaker Bailey. That statistic? Goals created.

Goals created is an advanced stat that takes a players goals and assists and compares them to the goals and assists of the team that they play for. For the sake of argument, lets compare three not so random players:

Josh Bailey, Matt Moulson, and Thomas Vanek.

Why those guys? Because #IslesKoolAid have repeatedly said that Moulson and Vanek are washed up. Understand that these washed up guys would be entering the 4th year of the 5 and 7 year deals offered to both of them by GM Garth Snow, but that's a point for another day.

For the sake of this comparison, I will give Bailey the advantage of using his career year: 2015-2016 versus the same seasons for washed up former Islanders first liners. And here are the results!
Bailey: 19 goals created
Moulson: 13 goals created
Vanek: 18 goals created

This shows that Bailey was significantly better with first line time compared to Moulson and his third line time on a cellar dwelling team. However, on the power play- where the Islanders were one of the worst teams in the entire league with good old JB riding the first unit- Moulson scored 18 points to Baileys 12.


So Moulson was not as effective overall as Bailey last season. But what if we look at Moulson's last full season riding shotgun with JT? 28 goals created. Think that's a fluke? I did. However, Moulson's next two seasons were a lockout year, and a traded year. If you prorate both, we find this:
Lockout year: 28 goals created.
Traded year: 30 goals created.


To compare guys that are "just goal scorers," how did Anders Lee do with this stat in his first line 35 goal season? 24 goals created.


The other player from last year- Vanek- 18 goals created between two non-playoff teams. When you factor in that he played on third lines and earned half as much money as Bailey, he comes off as a better value. And this current season? Two less goals created than Bailey playing on the fourth line in Vancouver. Also, Vanek in 47 games with the Islanders on this first line, including time with an injured JT not feeding him? 16 goals created. That works out to 28 goals created in 82 games.
https://www.dailyfaceoff.com/teams/vancouver-canucks/line-combinations/


Bailey's second best goals created season, for those who are interested? 15. And during Bailey's best season, Tavares had almost 50% more goals created than Bailey did. Because Bailey is the real MVP!

So to give you all a reality check, Bailey isn't an MVP. He hasn't been named an all star outside of the Bailey family intramural sperm fertility league. He has been carried like an fragile infant for his entire career. But we aren't knocking that. In fact, we want Josh Bailey to be recognized for his ability to sustain in a pro league while doing nothing.

And what better place for Bailey to be recognized than the Hockey Hall of Fame.


Yes, the Hockey Hall of Fame includes great players, transformative players, players who have more Stanley Cups than children...but what is it missing?


A first line player averaging 12.5 goals a year. I know, that's not entirely true. There are other players that averaged 12.5 goals a year in the NHL Hall of Fame. For example, Eddie Gerard averaged just 9.5 goals per season, and he's in the Hall of Fame. OK, the NHL season was 22 games long, but still, Bailey is 30% more productive than Gerard if you look at it without considering change over time. Realistically, no other player inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame averaged 12.5 goals a year as a forward since the Zamboni was invented.


Rocket Richaud? Beeyatch. Did he ever get 43 assists in a season? Oh, he did? Well then, Bailey belongs! We can just overlook those goals numbers. After all, goals are nothing without assists!


And that's exactly the point. The National Hockey League Hall of Fame needs an "I tried" guy. And boy do we have the guy. But facts are facts, Bailey can not get into the Hall on what he did. So howabout we let him on on what he didn't do?

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In ancient Egypt, there was a thing called a negative confession. Unlike a typical confession in a church where you list the ways you messed up, a negative confession is a list of stuff that you didn't do. It was a way at the end of a person's life to justify them worthy of paradise in the afterlife. In our case, the afterlife will be at the end of his career, and paradise is the Hall. And there is plenty that Bailey didn't do.


In fact, we have an advance copy of Josh Bailey's Hall of Fame acceptance speech, and the draft looks like this:


"Ladies and Gentlemen, distinguished guests, and accomplished players: I'm not one of you. Sure, I too played hockey, helped raise a couple of hundred point banners, and twice I've taken 7 shots on goal in one game. Seven! That's equaled whole months of work in my career! But we aren't here for accomplishments. That's bragging, and that's not my style. No, I would rather talk about what I didn't do.


I didn't move a team out of the area. OK, maybe my poor play helped that process along, but I'm no Peter Karmanos.
I never led my team in scoring, but Oleg Kvasha did, and where is he now?


I have never taken my opponent off of their game by physically harming them. You know, a check , a slash, a fight. Not this guy! I even help them score!

4:13 in.

I never had a contract that busted the salary cap. Sure, maybe was overpaid for 75% of that first deal, and I want another one soon, but all I did was sign my name. I can't help how stupid the guy that made the offer is.


Never have I ever ruined the confidence of many successful goalies at the start of their careers. They owe more to me than their own coaches.

No one can ever point to me surprising my teammates with amazing unexpected passes that would leave them and looking foolish as the puck banked off of their stick.


I never played defense. First off, I am a forward. Playing defense would take away a job from guys that actually play defense. I'm a union man. And if the team wanted me to play defense, then why make me a forward, huh? Makes no sense.


Never have I promised fans a Stanley Cup, because I am honest, and I would never promise on something I can not help a team deliver.

I have done nothing to disgrace where I was taken in the NHL draft. I may not be as good as 9th overall picks Rod Brind'Amour, Brian Leetch, Doin Phaneuf, Logan Couture or Mikael Granlund- in fact I'm not even close to as good- but I am clearly nowhere as bad as Brent Krahn, John Slaney, Mike Rupp, Petr Taticek, and Jason Marshall.


In conclusion, thank you for inducting me into the Hockey Hall of Fame for all of those things that I did not do. And thank you for waiving my waiting period so I can take my place among all of those amazing players who are very likely confused as to why I'm even here. Let me clear that up for you. I'm here for the everyman to look up to and say "I too can be mediocre and can ride one man's coattails and another man's stupidity into a decade of fat paydays." Yes, yes you can. Thank you, and god bless the Peter Principle!"

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Bailey's Hall of Fame Plaque Picture!

There's your happy ending, #IslesKoolAid! Your boy Bailey will be in the Hall just in time for the class of 2025! Rejoice! The rest of us will just keep watching the annual more of the same- 12.5 goals.

You can follow the musings of the author on twitter @JoshBarely