Islanders fans never thought they would see the day when they would be excited for the return of Josh Bailey. That day will be this Saturday, when Bailey returns to the Isles following a two-week suspension for getting injured while playing overseas.
Isles fans, myself included, laughed at the prospect of Bailey returning and adding a scoring punch to the lineup. After all, the Islanders were among the leaders in goals per game.
After scoring only three goals in their last three games, though, the Islanders need all the help they can get. All we can hope now is that Bailey is able to provide some sort of offensive punch.
Bailey's production kicked up a notch when he saw additional playing time at left wing instead of center. One would have to wonder where Bailey will play when he joins the Islanders for their Saturday (Feb. 9) matchup against the Buffalo Sabres.
While the Isles were hot and scoring goals in bunches, my guess is that he would have played on the third line initially, joining Keith Aucoin and David Ullstrom. The move would have bumped Casey Cizikas to the fourth line, joining Matt Martin and Marty Reasoner, making Colin McDonald a healthy scratch.
However, things have changed, and pretty drastically.
The third line that includes Ullstrom and Aucoin has gone ice-cold after starting the year on fire and Kyle Okposo swapped spots with Brad Boyes in the top six.
All bets are off on what the projected lines will look like. This offense has struggled recently. Granted, the Isles have played the Devils, Rangers and Penguins over the past three games—three very good opponents. Regardless, they need to turn it around, and quickly, given how short the season is.
At this point, I really have no idea what position Bailey will play and what line he'll be on. The Islanders can only hope that, wherever they decide to play him, he can provide a monumental boost to what has been an abysmal offense in the past few games.
What do you expect the scoring lines to look like when the Islanders play the Buffalo Sabres this Saturday?