AMHERST, N.Y. - Williamsville's Justin Bailey was sent back to his Junior team, the Kitchener Rangers, this week, but the Sabres prospect is taking it in stride. Bailey says it is another step in the process.
Bailey was selected in the second round of the NHL Draft this spring by his hometown Buffalo Sabres. It's been a whirlwind few months for the 18-year-old. Bailey went from playing in his first Ontario Hockey League playoffs, to the NHL draft, to Sabres prospect camp, to training camp and now this month's prospect tournament in Traverse City, MI. "This summer has been a life-changing experience for me," said Bailey.
Justin says that while he was hoping to stick with the Sabres this year, he has plenty to work on when he rejoins his Kitchener Ranger teammates just in time for their season opener Friday night at home. Bailey says Sabres management gave him a list which included getting more physical and developing a style of play more suited to the NHL. Justin says he would also like to work on his leadership skills.
Either way, Sabres coaches felt that Bailey's play improved through camp, that the other players spoke highly of him, and that he seemed to fit right in. Those ingredients indicate that we could be seeing Justin Bailey making that jump to the NHL as early as next season.