The other way Josh Bailey was not handled correctly by the Islanders is how he is used. Last season during even strength he was a Center 52% of the time and a Winger 48% of the time. Comeau played with him 34% of the time and the closest any other line mate played with him was 11.5% of the time and that was Schremp. Believe it or not Jon Sim played with him the next longest and that was 6% of the time. After Sim everyone else was 4% or less.
The following are things the Islanders should do:
1. I believe the Islanders should give him $1.2 Million 1 year contract. It is more than the minimum required qualifying order but not by much. It shows good faith and at least a small commitment to him.
2. The Islanders need to define his role. He is not a Winger he is much more comfortable as a Center.
3. Give him line mates that have talent and that are consitantly with him. This way he can grow with them, learn their strengths and weaknesses, and anticipate where they are going to be on the ice in different situations. As much as I dislike PA Parenteau and I believe the Islanders need to trade him, but I know they will not, Bailey's line mates should be Parenteau and Comeau from the begining of training camp.
4. If the Islanders do the above 3 items and still he does not turn his play around then it would time to package him in a trade at the deadline. If he proves that he is the player they drafted then before the season is over they sign him to the extension like Grabner, Moulson and Okposo.
This really is the make or break season for Josh Bailey. With Strome coming up I hope in 2012/2013 and not this season, Josh has to prove it to the team that Strome's place on the team might be Wing with Moulson and JT, because Josh Bailey solidified his place as either 2nd or 3rd line Center.
If Bailey is still on the team in 2012/2013 here is what the lineup could look like.
If Bailey is not on the team in 2012/2013 here is what the lineup could look like:
Either 1 of those lineups would look good. But I hope it is the one with Josh Bailey not the one without him. He has talent and he is a solid person off the ice. I am rooting that he succeeds if not here than somewhere else.