OTTAWA — Josh Bailey has persevered, that’s for sure.
The longest-tenured Islander has flourished through this disappointing season, posting career highs in goals, assists and points and, with a six-year, $30 million extension signed on Feb. 23, is entrenched as one of the franchise’s core members.
Bailey was announced before Tuesday night’s 4-3 win over the Senators at Canadian Tire Centre as the Islanders’ nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy as voted upon by the team’s chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. The award has been given annually to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
The Islanders (32-35-10) snapped a three-game losing streak after having been officially eliminated from playoff contention with Monday’s 3-0 loss to the visiting Panthers. The Senators (26-38-11), who will miss the playoffs after coming with a game of reaching the Stanley Cup Final last season, have lost six straight.
“Just to have been here the longest and have a long career is something to be proud of but I’d rather be thought of as a Stanley Cup champion at some point,” said Bailey, who has 18 goals and 51 assists for 69 points in 73 games.
Bailey, 28, had 13 goals and 43 assists for 56 points last season but, prior to that, had never had more than 41 points in a season.
“He’s had a damn good career to this point coming into this year,” Islanders coach Doug Weight said. “At this age, you don’t see a lot of those rises at this point in his career.”
“It’s something to be proud of to be the nominee from our team,” added Bailey, an Islander since 2008 after being selected ninth overall that year. “That being said, I think there’s definitely other guys that are more deserving of it. Brian Boyle and what he’s been through and to be able to come back and play really well and Kyle Okposo, what he went through last year.”
Bailey said it will be “tough watching the playoffs again this year,” but believes the Islanders can reverse their fortunes “quickly.”
“I think we have a lot of good pieces in place,” Bailey said. “Just some fine tuning and better injury luck next season.”
Notes & Quotes: Andrew Ladd scored the winner on a redirection at 17:57 of the third period. Anders Lee’s power-play goal opened the scoring at 6:15 of the first period. Anthony Beauvillier tied the game at 2 at 1:23 of the second period. Brock Nelson gave the Islanders a 3-2 lead at 18:42 of the second period . . . Defenseman Scott Mayfield was activated off injured reserve and returned to the lineup. Defenseman Johnny Boychuk, described as “banged up” by Weight, did not make the trip to Ottawa . . . Defenseman Nick Leddy was unable to play because of soreness.