NEWARK, NJ - Williamsville native Justin Bailey met with the Buffalo Sabres just a few times, at the combine, at a private workout, and, as fate would have it, in the second round of the 2013 NHL Draft. He slipped just far enough to land with the team he grew up watching.
Like the majority of the NHL draft picks, Bailey will be more of a project player to groom over time rather than throwing him right in there. Of course, players want to play immediately. But taking time to develop them is par for the course in hockey and can pay bigger dividends.
Bailey was projected for the late first round to early second.
He went 52nd overall, which is mid- to late-second round, so he slipped just a bit. But it must be a dream come true for a kid to play for his hometown Sabres.
Western New York has not produced a lot of premiere local hockey talent since Patrick Kane. Bailey told us earlier this week that those are big shoes to fill.
But he's got a good head on his shoulders and knows what it takes to make it in the NHL.