Josh Bailey Hide and Seek Tournament

Josh Bailey Hide and Seek Tournament

I have to give my buddy @AmazingInsights credit for this concept, as anyone who follows his twitter knows his disdain for Josh Bailey. The question he often asks is “How many games does Bailey take off?” He even mentioned the title of the Josh Bailey Hide and Seek Tournament…which with the postponement of the season, I saw it as a challenge to create. So thank you Corona, for making this idea a reality.

OF FUCKING NOTHING!

First off, we needed criteria. What is a night off? And we needed a point system to assess it. The point system came from this- when you screwed up, you were assessed points toward a score. And when you do something good? You get credits against those points. Allow me to present the following:

Points per game:

Zero shots on goal (2)

Zero hits (1)

GWG (-2)

Goals (-1)

The breakdown?

Zero shots on goal is the worst offense you can have if you’re trying to win games. If you don’t shoot at goal, you can not win games. Pretty simple so it’s worth two.

Zero hits in a game? You aren’t physically involved. I understand that there will be discrepancies for such in top 6 and bottom 6 players, so luckily I am only including the top 6.

Game winning goals? A misleading stat, as you may have scored 5 in the first and held on for a 5-4 win. Not a stat of clutch, but a stat saying we scored more than them and this one mattered….as much as the rest of them, just one more.

And goals. The ultimate measure of scoring. Without goals, there are no assists. Without assists? There are still goals.  

Basically, the hockey version of baseballs’ three true outcomes- a walk, a strike out or a home run. Things a defensive player just sort of watches.

Final formula? (Zero shots on goal X2 plus zero hits in an entire game – Game Winning goals X2 plus total goals). That’s the Uselessness Quotient. The higher the number, the more useless you are.

You may have noticed that I did not include assists. You may be wondering why. If you are a Bailey fanatic, you may say that this is biased and on purpose. And I would say yes and yes, except not for why you think.

The bias for including assists for players is that Bailey bias where you talk about total points. I get it. Gretzky had what, 11 seasons with 100 assists? Surely they matter, right? Except Gretzky made Marty McSorley- known for nearly killing a guy on the ice- an annual 11 goal scorer despite 250 minutes a season in penalty minutes. 11 goals per Gretzky season is just 2 why of what Bailey averages.

Untradable

And the “Bailey Boner” that is half a point a game? McSorley did that with Gretzky in 1992-93 on the way to a Stanley Cup finals that the Islanders should have won while racking up 399 regular season penalty minutes. I wish there were capitals for numbers. That’s almost 7 whole games worth of penalty minutes on a season. Also? McSorley was a plus that season, unlike Bailey in his swan song 71 point season. But, assists!

And I’m not counting the Jari Kurri’s and Paul Coffeys of the Gretzky universe, as you’re about to see.

So ask yourself this- who has Bailey made a scorer? It seems everyone prospers without Bailey once you account for removing Tavares from that same line. So I don’t account for assists because they’re Bailey biased, which gets to the on purpose part. Bailey never made Anders Lee as good a scorer as Ryan Strome did, so its unfair to use that against him. Why?

Dollar for dollar better?

Because an assist does not exist without a goal. So any player getting an assist has a minimum of two other factors involved- another guy shooting, and a goalie missing. And maybe a defenseman missing, so maybe three other factors. Oh, and also it could be a secondary assist, so four other factors. Oh oh, and then a forward may have not backchecked, so five other factors. Or a guy took your pass and shot it off a defenseman’s ass and it luckily angled into the net, so six other factors. You see where this is going, no? In short, there is almost nothing in your control when you get an assist.

Also scored against empty nets

Also, a player may make a great, needle threading pass to a guy on the goalie’s doorstep, just to watch him shoot in into the boards, so we won’t count assists because that’s not a passive players fault either.

So with that, lets set parameters. We aren’t going to count guys that aren’t regulars, because I don’t want to do math for everyone. Cya Keifer Bellows and Tom Khunackl, whose name I will never spell correctly. Also, if you are injured, we aren’t going to prorate you. Also also, forwards will be exclusive to this study….maybe. With that, let us analyze who has taken the most games off!

Here are the contenders at Bailey’s Hide and Seek Tournament:

Mathew Barzal                                                  Brock Nelson

Anders Lee                                                         Josh Bailey

Jordan Eberle                                                     Anthony Beauvilier

Derick Brassard

And for shits and giggles:

Ryan Pulock                                                        Devin Toews                                      Nick Leddy

Based on our scoring system, here are the totals, I have to admit, based on manpower stats- things you can do with your own hands productively- they’re surprising:

Player (In order of Best to Worst)                                              Uselessness Score

Anders Lee                                                                                         5

Brock Nelson                                                                                     12

Anthony Beauvilier                                                                          13

Ryan Pulock                                                                                        18

Jordan Eberle                                                                                     28

Derick Brassard                                                                                 37

Nick Leddy                                                                                          38

Mathew Barzal                                                                                  38. Uh oh.

Devin Toews                                                                                      42

JOSH BAILEY                                                                                       63

“I SUCKKKKKKKKKKK”

Just to remind everyone how we got these scores: (Games w no shots X2 plus games w no hits – game winnings goals X2 plus goals).

No shot and no hits are damning. That Nick Leddy- a player many Islander fans call useless, even Beth- has the same uselessness score as the elite Mathew Barzal shows why Barry Trotz sat his ass so much last season.

But it’s hard to ignore the Josh Bailey number. Brassard was almost twice more useful. Lee was more than 12 times more useful.

How did Bailey get there? Easy. 14 goals are a lot by Bailey standards, especially considering that the season was abbreviated. It’s less than half of his 31 goal pace from November 6 2019, or 21 goal pace from December 1 2019, but he was angling at maybe 17 with a hot hand, which would be just about a career year for Bailey goals…assuming he got 3 more. There’s also a good chance he ended the season with 15, in top 6 minutes and top line power play time. Want to know why?

Bailey led the team with 14 games without a shot on goal. In 68 games. That’s a game with no shots on goal percentage of 21%. One out of 5. So in the last 14 games? We can expect 3 without a shot on goal. So to hit 17 he’s need 3 in 11 games, when his average this season was a goal every 5 games. And take away empty net goals? Ouch. 15 was the limit.

No Kool Aid, it doesn’t count

Only two other forwards and one of the defensemen had double digit games with no shots on goal:  Derick Brassard (13) and Anthony Beauvilier (10). We all know how streaky Beau is, which is why he makes around $2 million. And Brassard less.  

The Barzal number was also surprising. Barzal shoots more than ever, but he does not make contact. He avoided contact in 51 of 68 games, compared with Baileys 53 in 68. Bailey takes 78% of games off from physical contact; Barzal a little less. No one is even close to those guys. Even softie Brock Nelson hits about half of his games. Best forward for initiating contact? Brassard, followed by Beau- 3rd liners that floated north on occasion.

And defensemen without grit? Toews. Just saying, when you think of that next contract, think a young Thomas Hickey without the goal scoring touch.

Also? Leddy is totally tradable. He’s a right handed defenseman which is a hot NHL commodity. Time to sell, yo!

Airing his mule

Understand that before I started this exercise, I did not cherry pick these stats with a predetermined end result in mind. I chose stats that someone can control with their own hands. You can choose to shoot or not. You can choose to hit or not. You can score goals or not- usually an indicator of shooting. And you can be clutch or not, which was the only one I was on the fence about weight on, until I saw how many times a player is credited a game winner versus how few we recall happening. But then end result?

Josh Bailey wins the first annual Josh Bailey Hide and Seek Championship! In a blowout! If you added in contract value via cap hit per production? Bailey’s production is worth $84m of the 2019-2020 salary cap. Basically, Bailey has the production of a person versus a carnival barker, or against the house in Vegas.

I invite any fan to use my formula to go over Bailey’s history as an Islander and see if this is a one off…or a career trend. I have my inklings, and they’re that Bailey is a bigger hide and seek dynasty than the one he’s producing with his wife. Or as we often say, more of the same Bailey. Let us know.

Over-Rated!
After the Rink? A Life.

After the Rink? A Life.

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking with former New York Islander Rob Schremp. Most Islander fans are probably familiar with Schremp’s shoot out prowess or remember that insane baseball bat goal he pulled off against Colorado (did you know that he meant to do that?), but does the average fan realize that in his Islander career he averaged more than half a point a game- a better average than more touted teammates Doug Weight and Trent Hunter despite often playing with bottom 6 forwards?

Our conversation was inspired by Schremp’s decision to walk away from hockey on his own accord and start a new life and career. It struck me curious that he never re-emerged in the NHL, so I reached out to ask him how the New York native found his way to the NHL, about his path afterwards, and about life after professional sports. He was gracious enough to share his experiences and insights, which I found out was a consistent theme for his hockey career.

I’m not a big fan of directly quoting a person because people can read words the way they want despite the intent of the speaker, but Rob gave me the double challenge of having a colorful vocabulary, so whereas I’m not one to why away from saying fuck, I do try to limit my output. Thus a series of direct quotes may have alerted my bosses! However, there are studies that say people who curse are more honest than people who do not. So on that standard, Rob Schremp is one fucking honest and decent  guy.

Schremp’s path to the NHL started at a young age. His skill set progressed so rapidly that when he was 14 he made the goal of playing in the NHL. Imagine knowing what you want at 14? At 14 I was figuring out how to pump off, but Rob already had the first love of his life and was blazing a pro sports career. I suck,

By age 15 other people were taking notice of Schremp, which made him “Put all of his eggs in a basket.” His ability and his confidence made him stand out among his peers, which led to his impressive tenure in the OHL. Shremp played so well that he caught the attention of the Edmonton Oilers, who took him with the 25th pick of the 2004 NHL draft. That’s the first round, if you’re counting.

In his last year in the OHL, Schremp posted an unreal 57-88-145 in just 57 games, and another 47 points in 19 playoff games. There was another first round draft pick that played for both the London Knights and the New York Islanders, but he didn’t have stats like that in London.

Edmonton noticed, and sent Schremp to the AHL over the next few seasons, with a cup of coffee call up in three different NHL season from 2006 to 2009.

I wonder if he ever saw this?

Being in an NHL training camp was surreal for Schremp. He recalled playing against Team USA and Dallas Stars legend Mike Modano, and how Schremp initially felt it was respectful to lose a faceoff to the veteran, but then when he tried to win them? Same result. The takeaway? You have to buckle down and be better to survive in the NHL.

And when Schremp started to buckle down in the NHL- getting 3 points in 4 games with the Oilers in the 08-09 season, Edmonton unusually waived Schremp towards the end of training camp, only to be snapped up by a horrible Islanders team. And they were horrible. In the midst of drafting at 5, 1, 5, 5, and 4 over a 5 year span.

The Schremp Islander era was defined by the best offensive output of his professional career, but also a changing of the guard at coach and an interesting anecdote. Schremp shared that if a coach that has a philosophy guiding his decision making without accounting for the personnel on the team, he is pretty much bound to lose the locker room. In case you forgot some Islander history, Head Coach Scott Gordon wanted to employ an offensive philosophy of “Overspeed,” despite having players like Doug Weight and Trent Hunter as key forwards, whose qualities were more about possession and controlling the pace of the game instead of basically dumping and chasing.  

As Schremp pointed out, Gordon was fired after a 14 game losing streak. A locker room can collapse in the midst of such if they aren’t a tight bunch, but even with the tightest room, with 14 straight losses change seems inevitable. And with the Islanders keeping Gordon around after the firing? Schremp pointed out that he hadn’t experienced anything like that in his career. Islander fans take note- other organizations don’t run like the SnoWang era Islanders did. Which I guess means professionally.

This didn’t age well.

The Islanders waived Schremp to make room for some of the budding young players (umm, who?) in the organization, and he landed with the Atlanta Thrashers for their final season. Despite having a successful exit interview at seasons end, the Thrashers had an unsuccessful exit interview with the city of Atlanta and moved to Winnipeg, with Shremp finding out about a change of ownership and location via a text message from Captain Andrew Ladd. Which seems mildly unprofessional, but then again, a different team fired their coach and left him stranded outside of the bus recently, so it is not unprecedented.

One story Schremp shared that I felt was amazing that was during his time with the Islanders he personally answered his fan mail. Even if he suspected a person was posing as a child to have a picture or card autographed, he still took the time to comply with fan requests, or to interact with fans in the pre-game warm ups. While this seems to be a standard practice in the league now, it was seen as a sign of not being serious about the game on hand back then. The story reminded me of the Mets Lastings Milledge high fiving fans after hitting a game tying home run, only to be scolded by his teammates after. Sports are supported by fans- why be a dick to them?

This is fine,

In looking back at his time in the NHL, Schremp identified a problem that existed for himself and players like him versus someone coming into the league with different expectations. In his opinion, there is less pressure for a mid level offensive player coming into the NHL than there is for a guy that has historically produced points. “For a guy that can score, they except that from themselves and they’ve realized their potential that way and way to expand. I want to score and I’ve proven that I can, so that kind of mentality is predicted to translate to pro. But if you expect people to produce junior numbers you have to provide the same opportunity.”

So when you spend time giving a mid level scorer top minutes and an offensive player 12 minutes a night? You end up losing 14 games in a row.

Another statistic that is pretty remarkable from his career was that when the postseason rolled around, Schremp found another gear. Aside from his eye popping 10-37-47 in 19 games back in 2005-06, the year before he was 13-16-29 in 18 games, finishing second in postseason scoring to Corey Perry. In his entire career, he averaged 1.3 points per game in the postseason. When it was time to show up to the dance, he always showed up.

Oftentimes athletes are forced to leave the game behind due to diminished skills. They get old. They get slow. They break. Nolan Bushnell taught me that as you age after 16, you lose microseconds of reaction time. Add that over a decade, and you’re a second or so slower than your opponent.  This wasn’t the case for Schremp. In his last professional season he led his team in scoring, but lacked the passion that brought him to the game as a child, so he walked away from hockey and into something you wouldn’t expect- predictability.

This is NOT a happy face

To a person that works a 9 to 5 job at the same place every day, comes home to the same place, sees the same people, doing something different can be exhilarating. But what if you spent 15 years not having a home? Travelling from city to city living out of a suitcase? Meeting new people in every city and with each team roster you make? Spending a limited time with your family? It can wear on a person, and in this case, it did. The politics in sports can be crippling. As Schremp said “The game showed some of its ugly side to me, so I said that’s enough. I spoke w my wife and closed my own door. If you came with on offer, I wouldn’t sign it.”

Except, Schremp left the sport without a concrete plan. He was shedding the skin of his former self and becoming something new. The only goal he has was that he wanted to be able to put energy and passion into whatever he wanted to do. And he ultimately landed with a company that led to the discovery of a new passion.

Towards the end and also after his career, Schremp was dealing with depression and anxiety, and was prescribed Xanax and other meds associated with the two diagnoses. The meds were powerful, and they were taking a toll on his quality of life. Add to that the expectation of becoming a parent, and Schremp was feeling an extra wave of anxiousness. The impact of the Xanax was just not going to work with the demands of being a dad.

This IS a happy face

Towards the end of his career, Schremp came across a company called AG Health which carries a CBD product Vedaecn.com  that pretty much became a substitute and replacement for Xanax. People around him noticed the positive effects that CBD was having on Schremp, and he felt better using something more natural.

With some new found time on his hands, Schremp became a product advocate, then an ambassador, to his now self described liaison position with AG Health.  He found another passion outside of the ice.

The thing about passions is that they change over time. What you liked when you were 5 may be a part of your life forever, but if that’s the only thing in your life? You screwed up.

Let it go…

And that’s the hybrid that Schremp has created. Schremp still maintains contact with the game via video consulting. He does so to both stay involved in the game to help players and teams get better. Schremp feels that he has had excellent coaching and professional experiences in his career, and wants to pay forward what he’s learned. “I think it’s a modern way of sharing knowledge and allows me to do things like stop video and write notes, and to show people how to use their vision. The everyday grind of hockey is hard, but consulting lets me help people.”

For people interested in contacting Rob for lessons, you can reach out at 44VisionHockey.com.

The transition from pro athlete to regular guy seems to suit Schremp just fine. For instance, we had to pause our interview because he had to feed his daughter some yogurt, which was clearly the priority. He’s taken to jamming on the guitar. He’s not packing a bag 67% of the year to go somewhere else. Retirement from a sport wasn’t gut wrenching or regretful. It was a renaissance. He has found a new passion, a way to stay connected to his sport on his terms, and he absolutely sounds happy with where he is in life.

Jamming on some DMB

So here’s the final part. I met Rob about a decade ago at an Islanders fan- player meet up at a restaurant in Hempstead. As the event ended, Rob asked me to hang around. When we talked, he asked me where it was fun to hang out on Long Island, so I made some recommendations (RVC, Huntington for the record). I think we did shots, but it was a while ago, and shots aren’t always memorable. But I liked that you could speak with him, and that he was confident enough to admit that he’s in an unusual environment and needed a little direction. Or as you may say in sports, he was coachable.

So when I reached out to him for an interview, he said yes. Because as a player, he wrote fans back. I’m not a fan of athletes just because they play a game, and specifically for Schremp, how could I be? His NHL  teams weren’t exactly overachievers. What could I root for but crazy shootout skills and perseverance? But I remembered how approachable he was, and the truth is, I DID enjoy watching his shootouts. I’m a little shocked that his shootout skills should be something an NHL team uses similar to a DH in order to gain playoff points- which is probably the future of the game as presently constructed.  So as Rob Schremp has left the game, I feel that he gave the sport an insight as to how to create a roster for the future. And there’s nothing more lasting than being the game changer that redesigned a sport. If only the sport is smart enough to get it. Think about how Larry Bird shot 3 pointers in the 1980’s versus how they’re shot now for a comparison.

Professional hockey allowed a person to have a very diverse career spanning two different hemispheres, but in the process it taught him about himself and to value what life presents you when you least expect it. But what its taught us is that for a professional athlete, life doesn’t end when you hang up your skates. It’s really just beginning.  

Josh Bailey is Freaking Useless

Josh Bailey is Freaking Useless

By Dan Radzicki

The New York Islanders have been a pleasant surprise for the second season in a row, which is a delight to Islander fans who are used to horrible surprises in back to back seasons, like naming your backup goalie your new GM just in time to hand over a 15 year contract, and the shit shows that followed.

But there is a refrain that started last season and has kept rolling, which is that the Islanders do not have enough offense. This narrative has not changed thanks to the free agent departure of some Toronto cuckold, the free agent rejection of a Russian who has won less than Ilya Kovalchuk in his career, the alleged rejection of an offer sheet for an opinionated kid out of Toronto that loves Matt Martin, and the failed trade for a Stone rolling out of Ottawa.

So when you read this thesis, you’re going to say that it’s stupid. On some level I will agree with you, but for reasons that you won’t understand. You’ll even say “How does that solve a problem?” And I’ll tell you how.

Here’s the thesis: Josh Bailey is Fucking Useless.

You might think you know how I got here, but trust me, you have no idea.

At this point you’re having one of three reactions:

  1. How dare I suggest that Mr. Islander Josh Bailey is Useless?!?
  2. Who is Josh Baily?
  3. No shit!

Let’s give each reaction their due.

First off, Islanders Kool Aid loves Bailey. Who are Islanders Kool Aid. Here’s the litmus test. Just ask the following questions:

  • Did Charles Wang save the team?
  • Was Mike Milbury a shittier GM than Garth Snow?

If the answers are “Yes” and “Yes?” You got yourself some Kool Aid. So what IS Islanders Kool Aid? They’re the fans that celebrate a close loss. That think every prospect will exceed the production of Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy- especially Josh Ho-Sang. That the Islanders “won the draft.”

They’re a fan base that is wholly ready to fly a “We Tried” banner next to the legends of the organization, and would retire the number of a guy whose only organization leading stat is “Showed up to the arena.”

Bailey has been an Islander his entire career, since he was passed on in his draft 8 times and was shockingly available every time the Islanders traded down in that draft to acquire picks that they did absolutely nothing to help the team with. How do I know? Where’s the Snake? And who also caused the Islanders to trade a 5th overall pick years later to get a guy taken a few picks after Bailey in Jordan Eberle. More on Eberle later.  

Bailey’s career has been defined by 8 years of shitty hockey, putting up around 30 points in each lackluster campaign in which the only impact he made on the team was a negative one. Terrible goals totals for a top 6 forward, peaking at 16 goals as a sophomore. A plus minus like a coal mine in West Virginia.

There was not a lot to root for there, if you look at statistics.

Also, in Baileys first 8 years, he had burned through 3 Islander contracts. His entry level and RFA deals saw Bailey post 58 goals over those five years- an average of 12 goals a season.

This was time for him to cash in. And it was the birth of the Bailey paradox.

The Bailey paradox is the idea that because he’s our guy on our team and he sucks? We have to like him. And the more he sucks? Like when he takes no shots for 3 or 4, or5 games in a row? The more you love him. Also, he has had spans where he has gone 3 or 4 or 5 games in a row without a shot.

Fun fact- Bailey had more games with zero shots on goal in 2018-2019 than Alexander Ovechkin has had in his entire career. But why would I compare Bailey to Ovechkin? I didn’t. Kool Aid did.

Bailey’s mythology only grew when he took a “team friendly” UFA contract in the summer of 2013. Kool Aid started to call him elite, citing that he produced somewhere around four tenths of a point a game. Heady numbers. To reward the organizations faith in his nearly $17 million contract coming off of the first $5 million he made as an Islander? Bailey scored 8 goals over the entire next season. Just like elite Ovechkin would, right?

In fact, every time Bailey signs a new contract? His numbers regress the very next season. Shocker!

I’
I’d hang myself first

This is when we get to reaction number two about Josh Bailey- who is he?

Opposing teams fans will largely have no idea who he is. For two reasons. One, they’ve watched their home teams play the Islanders and never noticed him. Which explains the nickname “Invisibailey.” Ever see him take a game off? Where he didn’t appear in a scoresheet save for attendance? Sure you have. Other fans notice, too. They’re almost stunned when he does something, because if you play the Islanders twice a year, he is very likely to do nothing in either game. Maybe he gets a goal but probably not. Maybe a hit, but probably not.

Golden.

Josh Bailey has as many career hat tricks as MICK VUKOTA. Mick just became a top 6 forward! Speaking of…

A top six forward shouldn’t average 108 shots a year. That’s not even near two a game. And a game where he puts up 5 shots- there are a couple in his career- that’s 2 games off in return.

Also, Josh Bailey has never tested the free agent market. Bailey signed an entry level deal, a restricted free agent deal, a “team friendly” deal that tripled his salary, and another team friendly deal that almost doubled it. Bailey is making a team friendly 6.25% of the entire salary cap (it was a higher percentage when he signed the deal) to…avoid free agency.

When a player like John Tavares leaves the only team he ever knew, it’s rare. He’s been super well compensated, treated like a king, and usually has a team around him built to win. Usually. Garth Snow tried to build a team around Tavares centered on Josh Bailey and Andrew Ladd. And we all saw the results. Oh, how do I figure?

“Don’t touch me!”

Ladd was the most significant Islanders free agent signing in the last 5 years, and the entire Garth Snow era. And Bailey was the guy Snow had to extend in season to show a commitment to winning to JT.

No wonder he ran home to Toronto to take the strap on.

But that’s Tavares. Bailey is on no comparable level to Tavares.

Most unimportant players use free agency to shop their low to average stats to hop from a team that may not be successful (Garth Snow era?) to a team that feels it needs to make incremental improvements and can use some “veteran leadership” and “experience” and “Hockey IQ” to cash in on a raise that wasn’t available to the team that already saw what they had. But that’s a competitive market.

It could backfire- see Vanek, Thomas. Boy, I’m sure he’s pissed that he said no to 7 years and $49 million from Garth Snow…a contract that the Islanders would still be paying out to him had he signed it. It only cost Vanek about $22 million that I bet he could use. Bet.

See what I did there?

And in a competitive field? We already saw how Bailey competes. He becomes Failey. Even if he left the Islanders for a contract better than $30 million- which no one was offering- it would be on less years. And the deal after that? Khunackhll money. Stupid fucking name.

Also, how do I know no one was offering? Garth Snow offered Bailey at the 2015 draft straight up for a 1st round pick. Team friendly deal? 29 rejections.

That’s why Bailey never bothered hitting the market. There wasn’t one. He was a DeSoto in a Tesla world.

So when other fans say “Josh Bailey? Didn’t he score against us when Jeremy Roenick was still on the team? Why do they sing songs about him?”

Embarrassing on so many levels.

Because he is a Kool Aid legend. Like Charles Wang and Garth Snow. And the word legend? It means shit you tell stories about that never really happened.

Lastly, there is the kryptonite to Islanders Kool Aid. They are referred to as Islanders Realists. Generally, they are curmudgeons. But they’re terribly correct with their expectations. Maybe not as much in the Trotz Era, but about 99% right before that.

Realists have the “No shit” reaction to my Josh Bailey is useless premise. Because, Josh Bailey is useless.

Lets look at the Golden Age of Bailey. It’s like looking at a game of Three Card Monty.

The Golden Age of Josh Bailey started when he was placed as a first line forward with John Tavares, and ended the next season when he was a first line forward with John Tavares and Anders Lee.

Why is it a Golden Age? Because in the 2016-2017 season Josh Bailey did something he never did before. He led the league in a statistic. Sure, it was arriving at the arena, which he tied with many other players. And only scored one more goal than his career average despite never missing a game and playing top 3 minutes. But first is first! And in fairness, he had a then career high with 13 fucking goals added to a coattails 43 assists. But the best was yet to come.

That watermark was the 2017-2018 season. Bailey had his only career All Star appearance. Just as many invites as enforcer John Scott and Buffalo Sabre Zemgus Girgensons, and just as deserving. But here’s the interesting thing. Bailey made the 2018 All Star game- the ending of the Tavares Islanders era game. But the unrestricted free agents Garth Snow let walk away in Frans Neilsen and Kyle Okposo? They both made the 2017 All Star Game without riding the coattails of John Tavares a year sooner.

Andres Ladd has yet to make an All Star game as an Islander. But I’m pretty sure he mouthfucked a carp.

Bailey’s stats ramped up in 2018-2019 to a very respectable 71 points which is how he earned that All Star cap tip. But the thing I always found interesting- on New Years Day 2019, Bailey had 50 points. He ended the season with 71.

Bailey also did his best Mike Bossy impression, scoring 18 goals in 82 games. Sure, 50 in 50 sounds sexier, but did Bossy ever play in 82 games? Nope. Not once. Inconsistent. Not like Bailey.

Took Bailey 4 years to get what Bossy did in 50 games.

It’s not that every single winger that played a full time season with John Tavares scored at least 20 goals. It just happened for Matt Moulson, PA Parenteau, Brad Boyes, Kyle Okposo, Thomas Vanek, Anders Lee, Mitch Marner, Zach Hyman, Andrew Ladd, and Sparky.

I’m sure it wasn’t that Tavares took the last few days off in that season to preserve himself for Toronto’s bidding so Bailey had no coattails to ride. The only other options is, Bailey only had one guy to tap in rebounds with, and Lee was prodigious in the last two weeks of the season or else Bailey does 10 points between January and April.

Oh, Bailey signed that contract extension also, so why try?

None of Baileys 71 point masterstroke mattered, as the Islanders missed the playoffs. Basically, his stats were the equivalent of jerking off into a plant, Harvey Weinstein style.

And when Tavares left Bailey? Tavares had his best season ever. SNAKE GOT RID OF BAILEY AND HAD HIS BEST SEASON EVER. There goes that horseshit playmaker hockey IQ myth.

So even at Bailey’s absolute best, just two years ago when he put up 71 points making $3.3 million a year, he was untradeable. That’s a fucking problem. Because every team in the NHL saw his best effort, and it landed the Islanders in the lottery.

You think Bailey would motivate a bad team to make a move to ensure their reaching the salary cap floor while guaranteeing a lottery draft pick- you know, just how Charles Wang saved the team. Yet no bad team wanted Bailey.

And that’d because at any dollar amount, be it $825,000 or $3,000,000 or $5,000,000, Josh Bailey is fucking useless.

Why is he useless? Because after his hallmark 18 goal season, a funny thing happened. Bailey had his first real coach.

Islanders Kool Aid has always attributed Bailey’s lack of utility as a function of his being “rushed” to the NHL. Sure, Bailey was rushed onto a bad team, but no more rushed to a bad team than players like Jack Eichel, Nathan MacKinnion, Connor McDavid, Jeff Skinner, Noah Hanifin, and Anthony Beauvilier. Rushed just as young into the league as Taylor Hall. Which I’ll mention shortly.

Kool Aid will say that you can’t harangue a man for his history. People learn and change. Bailey has spent 12 years in the NHL. Surely after the first 8 he got the hang of it! Because a 27 year old man was rushed…so he can’t possibly overcome the current level of 18 year olds outperforming him! Somehow, they weren’t rushed.

A Marquee rookie can’t be rushed!

Or…maybe rush has to do with talent and ability?

Understand when we talk Bailey’s ability and hockey IQ, Rob Schremp outperformed him in his time as an Islander.

So after this golden age- a decade into his career, a time when he had seemingly ‘figured it out’- he had a 20% decline in his production. And is on pace this year for another decline. And despite being coached by Hall of Fame head coach Barry Trotz, on both November 7 2018 and November 7 2019, Bailey was on a 31 goal pace for his season. Last year he ended with 16. This season? I’ll take all the $20 bets that come in that Bailey ends the season with less than 20 goals.

“BUT BAILEY SCORED AN OT WINNER AGAINST PITTSBURGH!” Yes, he did. After Mathew Barzal deeked the entire state of Pennsylvania out of the rink. I’m shocked Bailey didn’t miss that open net, quite frankly. Fucking Shane Prince scored two goals in a playoff game once. Let’s give him a handy!

So to summarize my thesis. Josh Bailey is fucking useless. I mentioned three players that we shall compare Bailey with. Two of these three were not my creation but that of Islanders Kool Aid. But there is one entirely is in my head.

Alexaner Ovechkin is the greatest goal scorer I have seen since Jaromir Jagr and Mike Bossy. It’s what he does. He is an elite, Hall of Fame player. He is a champion.

And if I were Ovechkin and were being compared to Josh Bailey? I’d shit in every moron’s mouth that said so. Shit right into their brainless empty head. It wouldn’t matter, because they already have shit for brains. #ToiletSkulls

Elite.

Ovechkin makes just about less than double Josh Bailey. His statistics are just about less than double Josh Bailey over the last 4 years. So point for point, they make pretty much even money.

Except in that time period, Ovechkin won a Stanley Cup. And took a team friendly deal to improve the squad. With the same head coach as Bailey. And has a fucking Hall of Fame career. And Ovechkin’s goals scored numbers over the last 4 years match just about the entire 12 year career of Josh Bailey. 300% more goals scored in that same 4 year span. Ovechkin has almost TWIC as many power play goals than Bailey has CAREER GOALS. Astronomical.

If Bailey is elite, Ovechkin is just about Bossy.

Then there’s Jordan Eberle. Drafted after Bailey, so clearly fat fuck GM Garth Snowcone could have traded back a few more times and gotten a player who almost always scored at least 20 goals, and has occasionally scored 30 goals. Two things Bailey has NEVER DONE. And get this- Eberle took a PAY CUT to stay with the Islanders. A team friendly deal!

But…Bailey got one!

Waittttt….Bailey took a 180% pay raise to stay with the team. Eberle took a 10% pay cut to stay with the team. Someone is a hero. I give a fuck who. And if you compare dollars per goal, Eberle is the bargain.

But the last one I want to compare to is the best one. Taylor Hall. Makes very similar money to Bailey despite winning a league MVP. Hall generally scored 20-30 goals annually.

Hall is like a leveled up Bailey. Put up on average about 30% more points than Bailey does. In their best year put up about 30% more points than Bailey does. Won an MVP. Took a moribund franchise back to the playoffs.

And his ass got traded! But for what?

And here is why we see that Bailey is absolutely fucking useless.

NHL MVP Taylor Hall and half of his salary and a prospect were traded for a first round draft pick, a conditional draft pick, a defensive prospect, and two prospects that are so obscure that Hockeydb.com had no idea who they were. Neither did hockeyreference.com and capfriendly.com. If a prospect shits in the woods and no one smells it, is it a prospect?

Did I mention that the Devils allegedly paid half of Hall’s deal?

So in case you missed it, a former league MVP was traded for a prospect, two very low prospects, a 1st round draft pick, and a floating pick. That’s a fucking awful haul for an MVP and an annual 20 and occasional 30 goal scorer.

So, if that’s the haul?  How do you trade a useless player? What are you going to get?

Traded twice within his conference.

That’s not the best question. The best question is what do you give to get rid of an albatross that never lead a team to an important win?

That’s where Isles Kool Aid and Isles Realists differ. Isles Kool Aid thinks every prospect is a superstar. They’re not. Almost none will even register. 3 years ago those fuckups though Keifer Bellows was Patrick Kane. Now? Kane wouldn’t even bother to rape him. Either Kane.

But say Bellows was a good prospect- which he’s not. We don’t trade him because? Because a win now team cannot trade unproven prospects for the help that can put them over the top today? Yeah nah. Many teams trade prospects that are ok for better players. Look at how the Boston Bruins moved Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton to keep a competitive team. But we need to hang on to fucking Michael Dal Colle?

I like Michael Dal Colle as a human being. Great back story. Can relate. But what the fuck is he doing in skates? Dude should work at Cock Fil A. Moving slowly.

If all a former MVP gets is a scant prospect, 2 long shot prospects, a 1st, and something else but only if you pay for him, let me ask you this:

What does Josh Bailey draw from another team?

Based on Hall? At best, a 3rd and a conditional 3nd. And here’s $2.5 million back on this mess. Which still fucks our cap, and gives us nothing to help a win now roster. Because even in losing Bailey, Bailey fucks us just like he has done since he’s been here. Bailey never wins, and currently we have so little coattails now for anyone to notice him.

Pretty much, all of Bailey’s value lies in unloading his cap hit. And based on Halls’ deal, the Islanders can’t even do that for a declining coattail riding piece of shit player.

Bailey eats cap space without improving the team. Bailey is untradeable because what the fuck does he do outside of being a negative and never propelling his team to a win? No one has ever traded for Bailey except Garth Snow who is a massive fuck up. No team ever leaked a Bailey rumor, except maybe about his sexuality? That team? The Islanders.

Pride.

Josh Bailey is untradeable. He is overpaid. All he does it hurt.

As I have empirically proven, Josh Bailey is NOWHERE near elite. He’s not above average unless you cherry pick weirdly useless advanced stats. However, he IS completely fucking useless. He can’t be traded for any value. Nor does he create value for this team. All he has shown in his career is an ability to fail, which is more of the same.

And that’s the problem. Baileys utter lack of utility makes him untradeable. We’re stuck with him. As I predicted 2 years ago, he will end his Islander career with more games played than any Islander ever. And that is an indictment on how large a failure this organization has been. A team spending 92% of the cap ceiling with fucking Leo Komorov and Josh Bailey as catalysts to show for it. Stanley Cup? Meet Dixie Cup.

Josh Bailey is fucking useless.

You can respond in the comments or @JoshBarely on Twitter. It won’t make Bailey suck less.

Predicting the New York Islanders Season 2019-2020

Predicting the New York Islanders Season 2019-2020

Every now and then we have a writing contribution from our wonderful audience. This column is written by one of our fans, @AmazingInsights from Twitter. Enjoy! – Dan

Let’s get right to the point – If you think the Islanders are going to be anywhere NEAR 103 points this coming season, you really REALLY need to read this blog.   Oh, before you do, may I suggest you first turn OFF your emotions, put down the #isleskoolaid and then consider these very real issues.

To appreciate what happened last year, you had the following themes:

1.  Lou became GM and changed the mindset of the lockerroom 

2.  Trotz became Coach and got a coaching staff with a clue 

3.  We had the “eff John Tavares” Battle Cry

4.  We had the emotional feel good Lehner Story. 

5.  A number of players were playing for Contracts 

From where I sit, a LOT of emotional energy across all those items is what truly drove this team.    But did you notice something after the  sweep of the Penguins?    A week off and – to be honest – they lost the emotional “mojo”.   It really is a hard thing to turn on/off.  

The 2019 Season 

So far, I don’t think I haven’t raised anything that can be considered confrontational.   But that’s about to change.     Now it’s time to take an HONEST assessment of the team as it sits on August 26, 2019.   No emotional thinking, no “isleskoolaid” logic (is that an oxymoron?) and no “I bleed Orange and Blue” nonsense.    Just an honest assessment. 

So first, you might want to open this link in another tab, because you may want to have it as a handy reference for the sections below:

https://www.capfriendly.com/teams/islanders

1.  They didn’t fix the CORE problem  


A.  And that would be – SCORING.  For all intents and they are bringing back the same team (more on this in a second).  While there are NO new impact players, we now have SEVERAL players who played well in their contract years to get absurd over termed contracts.   And if you think Bailey is finally going to show up to score 20 this season, you might want to put down the “Bailey Bahama Blue Koolaid”, because Bailey hasn’t ONCE scored 20 in a season.   

B.  PowerPlay.   You can argue that for the first time in AGES we have a Powerplay coach with a pulse – or clue – with Jim Hiller.   With luck, Hiller can have the same effect that Mitch Korn did on our Goalies.   But lets NOT forget that the #isles have a “Hey we have two entire minutes to pass the puck before we take a shot” mentality on the Powerplay, so Hiller has his work cut out for him.  

2.  Goalies

Both Lehner and Greiss benefitted from the Mitch Korn the “Goalie Whisperer”.    The fact this duo won the Jennings Trophy speaks VOLUMES as to why last years team got 103 Points.  

Oh and a quick News Flash !!!  Lehner isn’t here anymore and we now get to see what magic can be sprinkled on Varlamov.   Oh, and Varlamov is a little older than Lehner – and – has some injury history.

3.  Emotions

Let’s be honest.   There was a TON of  emotional energy that was channeled last year.    So the “everyone thinks we will suck because JT isn’t here” mantra is history – as is the “feel good” story around Lehner.   

Here is hoping that Trotz knows what buttons to push to get this team ready,  but I think he has a MUCH harder road this year.   MUCH MUCH harder.  

4.  They aren’t going to surprise anyone 

The Islanders surprised a lot of teams last year.    I believe a LOT of this was emotionally driven (ie JT) but it was also coaching that turned around the hellacious Snow/Weight “coached” teams.    Using the word coached when it comes to Snow/Weight is insulting to even beer league coaches.  

But now other teams know the Islanders M.O. and as such they will have lost the “surprise” element to their game

5.  Health 

Check out ALL the ages (notice a theme here) on the CapFriendly link, including our so called “Top 6”.  The NHL is now a “young man’s league” and here come the Islanders with a number of key players 30 or older.   

The Islanders suddenly look .. shall we say .. O L D.  

Lets NOT forget Clutterbuck at 31 is coming off MAJOR back surgery.    Keep repeating that until it sinks in.  Major Back Surgery.    For those old enough, remember what happened to Mo Vaughn after his injury.   And for those young enough, look no further than Robinson Cano.    And those guys play BASEBALL.   Hockey is MUCH more physical.  

And Varlamov – he is 30 as well.   And he was hurt last year as well.

I don’t know many players whose body becomes less immune to injury as they get older

6.  Bailey Syndrome 

I use this term to describe a player who magically decides to show up in the contract year, gets a large contract – and then returns to his normal output.  

Be very worried about the contracts given to Nelson and Lee.   The biggest problem is the term, because how long do you expect to get that production from either player. 

Lesson:   Always fear the year after signing a contract, because the focus on playing for the contract is now over. 

7.  The “4th Line” 

Remember what I said about getting older and a physical game.   The 4th line likes to hit.   The question here, what exactly can you expect from Clutterbuck after surgery ? 

8.  Age

I have focused on age a lot in this entry.   This really isn’t a young team, and it really starts getting ugly 2 years from now  (again go to Cap Friendly and start adding 2 or 3 years to the players ages)    Lou is going to have to unload a LOT of people in the next few years – and QUICKLY

Lesson:  The NHL is a young man’s league.

9.  Roster and Cap Space

While you are looking at Cap Friendly, now look at the total the Islanders and spending this year.   Do you see any “elite” players?  I sure don’t – yet we don’t have a lot of room to sign an impact player.  

This is why the Mitch Marner talk was absurd.    Remember at the END of this coming year you need to sign Barzal AND Pulock.    That 7-8 million cap space is likely going to consumed by those 2

So where are you fitting Marner?     Which contracts were you getting rid of to get the 12 Million? 

Keep repeating THAT AND Analyzing it until reality sinks in 

Oh, and a comical side note.   Look at all of the guaranteed contracts.   Lets say Josh HoSang plays “lights out” in camp  – who is he going to displace ? 

Summary

Trotz and the coaching staff REALLY have their work cut out for them this season.    

For those wondering “where is Lou” – take a look at the current roster and ask yourself – we are paying HOW MUCH for this lineup ?    And Chiarelli is LONG GONE.  Which sucker .. er .. GM is going to take any of the players on the islanders roster you would want to get rid of ? 

So set your expectations accordingly for this season.   I have the feeling it’s going to be a long one.     

Backwards Going Forwards

Backwards Going Forwards

If you’re a New York Islanders fan, you probably are thinking that the Islanders have taken a step backwards from last season. After all, they lost their Vezina nominated goalie in Robin Lehner, the super bottom 6 producer Valteri Flippula, and the free agency contest to sign Russian superstar Artemi Panarin. That’s not great, especially considering that after the team’s season ended in a sweep against Carolina, the biggest need identified by coach Barry Trotz was for more offense. He was rewarded with an offseason of less offense, which technically is offensive.

I wrote about why that was offensive here:
https://worldwidesportsradio.com/lou-sers

But really, what’s worse for the Islanders is the fact that, based on the way this team is constructed, they are currently in “Win Now” mode. I’ll explain how that conclusion was reached shortly, but here’s a hint- it starts at forward. Check the link below to see the nightmare that two GM’s have created at forward.

https://www.capfriendly.com/teams/islanders

Thank you, Capfriendly.com!

The New York Islanders currently sit at just under $7 million under the salary cap, with a restricted free agent deal awaiting 28 point scorer Anthony Beauvilier. This means they’ll end the offseason somewhere around $4-5 million under the cap. Feel free to name an impact player that gets paid $4 million dollars in today’s NHL to swoop in and save the season. I’ll wait.

This in itself is a problem. But it’s not the primary problem. As pointed out by my buddy @AmazingInsights, time is our primary problem. Let’s look at who has the longest life on their NHL contracts with the Islanders. Anders Lee tops the list in both time and money. Now look at the age column. Anders Lee is 29. And a player starts a decline at what age? About 30 (https://www.fatherly.com/health-science/why-athletic-performance-declines-with-age/)

Next longest contract? Our favorite Beth, Brock Nelson. Nelson checks in at 27, so he is in his elite period of experience and performance. That got him a deal that runs until he’s 33, well into a decline. And anyone watching Nelson play over the years knows Nelson had a “contract year” last season and should expect a decline back to his lollygagging, streaky playing, and generally ineptitude this upcoming season.

Up next? Jordan Eberle. Ebs will turn 30 this year, with 4 more years after on his deal. Time is not on his side, either.

These are three of your key forwards. Thus, why I say win now. But let me beat the point in further, for the #IslesKoolAid out there.

Next up for term? Andrew Ladd. Already 33, already DONE. But with 4 more years at $5.5 million dollars. Untradeable, unless you throw in something significant like a first and second round pick, or a valuable prospect and a first. A wasted roster spot for a player that used to be good and play physical, but whose style of play has ground him down by 31. A year and change older than Anders Lee is now.

A person holding a fish swimming under water

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Bleeding the cap soon?

Then we get to the Josh Bailey deal. A Garth Snow gift to his favorite son to try to convince Tavares to stay on the Island- like THAT would do it- we see that Bailey at his age 29 season has $5 million cap hit until he is 34. Also, Bailey himself had a few break downs last season. He was on a 30 goal pace in November, but barely finished with only 16. He also lost 15 points from his prior season, but that was when he was bounced off of the first line this year for playing like shit. If he’s not riding coattails again? Ge ready for 14-21- 35 to return. You know, Bailey’s average pre-Tavares line stats.

Players turning 30 this year? Eberle and Bailey. Ladd is already there. This is 5/6ths of your top 6. This is 3 of your key forwards at 30 or more in October. This is 35% of the salary cap. This is win now.

And why now? Easy. How many productive forwards on the Islanders are under 28 (Nelson turns 28 in right after the season starts)? Definitely one, arguably two. The arguable one is Beauvilier, who has averaged 19 goals a year in the NHL. No assists, but goals, which IS the more important stat. Beau is due for a raise this year and will see a few million. But the definite one? Mathew Barzal. Barzal is due a raise after the season. Think he’ll get $5 million or more, considering what the RFA contracts of Connor McDavid, William Nylander, Austin Matthews, and the rest of the new crop of budding stars got paid?

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More than $5 million. Bank on it.

What’s worse is the bottom six of the Islanders. Yes Matt Martin is in the final year of his deal and will give some cap relief based on what you should pay someone with that kind of production, but Leo Komorov is not. Nor is Cal Clutterbuck. Two more untradeable contracts without giving up assets, which is our next problem- where ARE the Islanders assets?

Generally, within 3-4 years of a draft, players emerge from those drafts into the league. For top 10 picks? It can be weeks after a draft. Let’s see how the Islanders have done in this range by looking at the 2015-2018 drafts.

The 2015 draft has been productive for the Islanders. Well, the first round anyway. Beauvilier made it to the NHL after one more season in juniors, where Barzal needed two. So, within 2 years all of the first round picks of the Islanders made the NHL. So that means the 2016 draft should have a player entering their sophomore year, right?

Wrong. The 2016 NHL draft has produced ZERO NHL games played for the franchise. ZERO. The expectation would be Keifer Bellows having 80 or so NHL games under his belt. Nope. Zip. And Anton Golyshev seems to enjoy Russia, so that’s another shitball.

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Nope.

The 2017 draft? A whopping 22 games. All on defense.

The 2018 draft could be blossoming for the Islanders this year. Which is interesting because the Islanders will have 15 forwards and 7 defensemen already holding contracts. Some of those contracts are albatrosses and aren’t going anywhere, so those kids are generally dicked over. Like the fans. Or Cord’s neck. #DickedStraight

I’m going to stretch this analogy for three more years- the 2012, 2013 and 2014 drafts. What forwards came out of those drafts?

2012: Snow took 7 defensemen in that draft. You can argue that it was a deep draft for defensemen that year, which was true. You can argue that Griffin Reinhart got the pick that got them Mat Barzal.  You can also argue that with the 4th overall pick, the Islanders could have had Filip Forsberg, who was the 3rd highest forward drafted that year, was available when the Isles picked Reinhart, and was the first forward taken after 3rd overall pick Alex Galchunyuk.

You can also argue that if Forsberg was an Islander, Tavares would also be an Islander today. You could argue that if Snow took Dumba or Trouba instead of Reinhart that Tavares would be an Islander today. You could argue that Snow isn’t an absolute fuck up and was an NHHL GM because no one else would accept that job after Neil Smith quit after a month WITHOUT BEING PAID, but that’s a losing argument.

2013: 84 games of Alan Quine. Fucked.

2014: Two first round picks, including a top 5. These guys have both burned their entry level deals while COMBINING for under 90 games played in the NHL. Worth about the same output thus far as Alan Quine. Michael Dal Colle is officially a bust. I said this to my buddy Kool Aid Rob a couple of years ago and he called me crazy. Which is why he is Kool Aid Rob. Josh Ho Sang is on a one year two way deal, meaning that his career as an Islander is over July 1, 2020.

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Shoot the puck.

And for shits and giggles, the 2011 draft? Three forwards made it, but only one played more than 11 games. Ryan Strome was the 5th overall choice in the draft, had one good season with the Islanders, and eventually acquired Jordan Eberle. So at least Strome did something useful. He left. Buh-bye!

If you’re keeping score, from 2011 through RIGHT NOW the Isles have produced one impact forward by trading a 4th overall, and used a 5th overall to acquire another impact forward. I’m going to leave out 2010 when we used a top 5 pick to obtain Cal Clutterbuck – an impacted forward- but I guess I just didn’t. From 2011 to today, the Isles have produced at most two useful forwards from their system, and one from another one. That’s over an eight year span. Which included two top 5 picks, a top 4 pick, and 11 first round draft pick overall. Eight years. That’s longer than many NHL careers.

This is also drearily worse than I realized. The drafting of Garth Snow can be summed up in one word- Asshole.

Ordering pizza. Again. Today.

Even if you have hope for Keifer Bellows, 73% of that first round is already in the NHL including everyone with offensive talent. And if you’re counting on the vaunted 2018 Islanders draft? Which of those 15 contracts will the Islanders jettison for Oliver Whalstrom? And Otto Koivula? Will he be as effective as Brady Tkachuk or Andrei Svechnikov from that same draft? Because they’re already producing in the NHL. Probably because they have offensive talent. Didn’t Derek Brassard just take Koivula’s job?

I’m going to give Simon Holmstrom a pass, because he’s at least a year away from the NHL. Which just compounds the lack of assets issue and reinforces the point of the win now mentality of this club, as its at least another year before a prospect is ready to help a win now team.

He looks like a little kid.

At least the defense is in good shape…kind of. Feel free to click on the link and go to the defense section.

https://www.capfriendly.com/teams/islanders

The Islanders have 4 useful defenders under 28. But again, the salary cap nightmare rears it’s ugly head. After this season, Devon Toews and Ryan Pulock also need contracts. Those are definitely needs. But look at that top three, paywise. One guy under 30, Nick Leddy, but his deal will carry him right into his decline as it ends when he’s 31. The other two? Oh boy.

Thomas Hickey is on the wrong side of 30, and has 3 years to go on this deal- all what our science article would call a decline era. And Johnny Boychuk is already in decline yet has the highest paid contract on defense that lasts until he’s 38. Another unmovable contract…but at least you can ask for that 8 team list that you can try to send him to, as his absurd “no movement clause” is done.

The Islanders do have a defensive asset ready to step in, and with 4 younger defensemen it will make a solid core. Except…there’s 7 defensemen presently under contract, and the two with short terms are going to be resigned. What raise do you think Pulock will get? Toews? Because that’s cap space, too.

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Only took 5 years and a Hall of Fame coach to develop! Alright Bridgeport!

So who with a long term guaranteed contract sits down for Noah Dobson?

When the season gets rolling, the Islanders with the addition of Brassard will have 10 of 24 players on the squad including both goalies at or older than 30. They will have 3 more guys the season after turning 30. They will be a cap max team. And as we’ve seen no trades in the last almost 14 months (!), we can not assume help is coming. Besides, we have no young forward assets to offer in a trade, no one is taking many of these bad contracts written by the last and present GM’s, and where the team needs the most help? There are contracts cemented for 5/6’s of the top 6.

I wanted to remind you all here that the Islanders also do not have a single elite player. What team has won a Stanley Cup in the last 15 years without an elite player? They don’t have an elite player in their system, either. If they offer sheet Mitch Marner or Patrik Laine? Neither of those guys are elite players. Marner’s averaging 23 goals a season on his career, though to be fair it has increased every year. Laine has one dimension, although it is the best one to have, but 30 goals last season on a good team and he was still -24? Not elite.

Mat Barzal? Not elite. Not even top 20.

Mathew Barzal? Not elite. Not even a top 20?

All of those long term deals, lack of prospects at forward, and complete lack of elite players tell us one thing: the Islanders are a defensive minded, win now team. Just without the horses to win now. The Drive for Five? It’ll have to wait another generation.

EDIT: The Islanders just signed Derek Brassard. 14 goals last year. Wrong side of 30. But this is a win now team, so I’m sure that’s the missing piece to the cup!

Follow on Twitter here: @JoshBarely

Lou-sers

Lou-sers

Lou Lamiorello is a Hall of Fame NHL executive.  But what would make me, a lifelong Islanders fan, happy about having Lou? First off, I’m not a guy who has an affinity for the Devils, or the Maple Leafs, or the douchebag Rangers, or any other team in a sport that frankly hasn’t figured out how to monetize itself save for 3 cities geographically. I do however care about my local team. And in looking at my local team with a legend GM after 2 drafts, 2 free agency periods, and one trade deadline, my concern is that this is still a roster created by Garth Snow. And Garth Snow was an absolute fuck up.

You’re probably going to say something like “Well, Lou offered Snakeface and Breadman the highest contracts of any team involved in bidding.” Yes, yes he did. So why did they both say no? My guess is Lou.

There was a time in history when Lou Lamoriello was maybe the best GM in the entire league. His drafting with the Devils was legendary. The results? 5 finals, 3 cups. That’s an average of a cup victory a decade, and almost 2 finals a decade. Solid shit.

After the Devils was an interesting time for Lou. When the Devils forced Lou out after a mediocre run? The Toronto Maple Leafs snapped him up. But more to be the man to restructure an organization. They surrounded him with talent to make decisions on all levels, from coaching to draft to scouting. And Lou made sure everyone was handsomely paid.

So what did Toronto do under Lou? They built an exciting team that won absolutely nothing. In return Toronto let Lou seek other pastures.

Lou Lamoriello contains the wisdom of a 50 year career in a sport. I have to give him credit for breaking into Russia and bringing championship players like Slava Fetisov to the NHL that would have never seen NHL ice. He single handedly expanded the sport, and deserves recognition for players like Pavel Datsyuk or Pavel Bure or Vagina Malkin playing in the NHL. That’s all Lou.

But that bravado? Does it translate to today? Nope.

The NHLPA has gotten smarter and better under Donald Fehr. That dude is a genius, flat out. Every time he gets involved in a sport, players get rich. Look at Major League Baseball. Their minimum wage is 35000% higher than actual minimum wage. I don’t know about you, but I’d love a 35000% raise. Hockey players are starting to have those expectations, and are winning at it, as evidenced by all of the absurd restricted free agent contracts being thrown around the NHL to 20 year olds.

But Lou? Look at his last few years with the Devils. With the exception of that last cup run on the back of Martin Brodeur, the Devils record on everything was unimpressive. They lost Zach Parise. They gave Ilya Kovalchuk an absurd deal that…the Devils have been paying that since 2010 are still paying for it until 2025. Who the fuck is stupid enough to give a 15 year deal? Oh…right. Garth Snow.

So there’s history. And yes, I am flying past the reliving of, but really, if we needed to, we can say this- Martin Brodeur and Scott Stevens and Scott Neidermeyer and Ken Danyko meant no one scored against the Devils. The punch on offense? Bobby Holik? Shit, Jason Arnott was a Devils hero. Jason Arnott. That’s a guy you build a team around, amirite?

But I’m losing focus. Let me focus on what Lou Lamoriello has done as the GM of the Islanders.

He could not retain John Tavares. He could not attract Artemi Panarin. He offered both of these turds the most money anyone could have offered them. The response? Fuck Lou. I have to shave? Cut my hair? Dude, I’m a multimillionaire. Eat a bag of dicks.

And scarily, there was NO plan B.

Consider this: fans of Lou have said that the Islanders won the 2018 draft. Nice. How many NHL games have those players won? How many overpaid veterans were traded away to make room for the scary talent of 2018’s draft? That 2018 draft talk reminds me of the 2008 draft that everyone said Garth Snow won. What exactly did Garth win with that draft? Fuck it- HANG THE BANNER!

Historically Lou has had some choice drafts, although he does reach a bit just like another ass clown for players he likes despite “best player available” status. So let me ask you this- is anyone saying that the Islanders won the 2019 draft? No. Maybe because history has shown that Lou has shanked the equivalent of about 13 entire professional drafts?

Outside of drafting, look at the players that Lou has brought into the Islanders. This would be a clue as to what the GM values. So who does Lou respect?  You’d expect guys with good hands and offensive upside. Nah nah yeah nah. It’s players with no creativity. Grunts, not scorers. Matt Martin. Leo Komorov. Tom Khunackle. I’m sure I spelled that wrong, but I also don’t care. Where’s the talent? And don’t say Valeri Flipula. That was an outlier season for him. And he’s not here. Neither is Robin Lehner. Seems Lou still values 80’s and 90’s hockey today, when the game itself does not.

So, back to a previous thought – who has Lou signed over 2 free agent periods? Who has he acquired for a 103 point team at a trade deadline? Who has he acquired that’s worth a shit via trade? Yes, there was the story about Max Pacioretty that was scuttled because Lou had some good first round picks. So where are those picks? The NHL is a young mans league. 19 year olds are common. Dobson? Whalstrom? Bellows? Hello?? Is the old man asleep at work? Has Garth Snow rubbed off on him?

Then there’s the Mitch Marner offer sheet rumor. The money involved would cause the Islanders to lose 4 1st round picks. OK. It’s not like the Islanders have used first round picks well. Still, after the raises to bring back the same team in a tougher conference, there will be no offer sheets. The Maple Leafs cap manager is fully operational, so Mitch Marner has no chance to become an Islander. And I’mnot positive Lou knows what an offer sheet even is.

But say there was. What if the Islanders were going to offer Mitch Marner a contract that cost them 4 1st round picks? Were there alternatives?

Brayden Point is a top notch offensive player. He made $900,000 last season. Where was the $5m offer sheet? Which would screw over Tampa Bay’s salary structure? And cost the Isles a 2nd and a 3rd?

Patrick Laine? He’s like Anders Lee but with speed. Kyle Conner. Matthew Tkachuk. All players who score and are available if you want to burn off 4 first rounders. Oh, and move someone or someones from the roster to create the cap space for them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zko1I1Y4CQ

But lets’ talk about the value of 4 first round draft picks. What if we used them differently?

Two of the picks you were willing to burn on Marner? Use one to send Andrew Ladd and his albatross contract to anyone that wants a first. That’s it. Use another to move Johnny Boychuk somewhere to play out his days. The picks we traded for him have served Boston just as well if not better than Boychuk has served the Islanders. That saves you two first rounders and creates a lot of cap space. Then you can use the other two to acquire someone to help the team. Look at what the Devils sent to Vegas for Gusev- a 2nd and a 3rd. So two firsts will get you a seriously solid player. Rich Nash in his prime didn’t get two firsts from the Rangers.

To many moving parts? Lets simplify. Call the Chicago Blackhawks and offer your next 3 1sts and Andrew Ladd for Patrick Kane. You know, a leader with cup experience and a crazy but not unreasonable contract.

But hey, Lou knows better. Because his last title was almost 2 decades ago. Lou-sing.

When’s gonna be his time?

For the record, I am not a fan of offer sheets unless those sheets are reasonable. What is reasonable? Tactical. For instance, Mitch Marner. I would have offered him $10 million dollars a year. The draft pick compensation would have been negligible (two 1sts, a 2nd and a 3rd), but if Toronto matched? They have half of their entire cap invested in 4 guys. Consider this- to draft a Marner would have required a 1st  round pick. So is Mitch Marner worth a 1st, 2nd, 3d? Yes, yes he is. But offer sheets…get matched? So we don’t try?

The Montreal Canadiens offer sheeted and failed at Sebastian Aho. Carolina easily matched. Kudos to Montreal for thinking outside of the box. This one time. But Carolina was able to match because of payroll flexibility. Which is something a team with Josh Bailey and Andrew Ladd making 13% of the cap just does not have.

Aslo, we have Mat Barzal coming up to be in a position for an offer sheet. Who do we need to move to secure Barzal’s future as an Islander? Nick Leddy can sure use a new home. Johnny Boychuk’s contract is now officially bad. As is Cal Clutterbuck. But the best value to trade?

Josh Bailey. Why? Josh Baileys career 14 goal average can be moved because he’s a recent all star. And of course Bailey would acquire 4 first round draft picks, right? Nah. Besides, 15 goal scorers do not earn $5 million dollars per season. Not yet, anyway. So you’d probably have to package him with a pick to get something back, like a prospect or a 2nd round pick. Still, its removing useless cap space so it’s a good value.

So why are players who are getting mega offers from Lou saying no? That’s because Lou is a grandpa. Grandpa loves the kids, but in his heart he wishes those kids were as World War Two ready as he was. Except there’s never going to be another World War Two, despite creating a roster like it’s happening now.

Does Lou communicate with younger players? Let’s look at Robin Lehner. First off, Lehner was a value signing 12 months ago. Then he somehow became an issue. If you ask Lehner, the Islanders sandbagged him. If you read Lehner’s quotes, he was completely full of shit about wanting to play on Long Island. And yes, it is ON Long Island. But he still turned down a guy he was praising in public all season. Lou lost the young man, because Lou has grown out of touch.

Lou’s touch with communicating with youth is that he expects players to conform. Players do not live in the age of conform. They live in the age of pampered babies. Whereas Lou is old school and older retired athletes and present coaches respect him, younger players are placated and spoiled. The Russians that Lou worked with came from an authoritarian regime. Shaving facial hair was the least of their worries. Now? The KHL has enough allure that Russians don’t feel a need to come here for fame. Look at the Islanders- Sorokin issue. Sorokin came here for a training camp, looked at Garth Snow, and realized that anything in Russia was more professional than that. This includes both Russian whorehouses and mail order bride organizations.

This may sound mean, but this is realistic- when a player asks Lou what the long term goal of the organization is, they realize they’re asking a guy that is 76 and in a high stress job. He may not outlive the current season, never mind a long term plan.

Desperation move. No one else was paying that.

So how do we solve this mess? It’s time to make Lou what he excels at- an organizer. Lou needs to have his role solely as team president. He needs to add a GM to the mix, just like Toronto had oversight for Lou. Let Lou acquire coaches and scouts and whatnot. But it’s time for the players to hear a different voice. One that can convince a player to come to this organization out of any reason that’s not desperation. One that can make a trade (it’s been over a year if you’re keeping track). One that can communicate to the modern athlete.

Until then? It’s like Garth Snow is still in charge. And if it feels like that to fans, imagine how that feels to talent. Even with a 22nd century arena, it’ll still be a team run in the 1980’s. Until the Islanders solve the GM issue- and it is now officially an issue- they’re going to be seen as a reflection of their GM: swinging and missing at the stars and the playoffs. A bunch of Lou-sers.