While many fans are focusing in on Buffalo’s top two draft picks (Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov), and deservedly so, we’ve decided to take a closer look at Williamsville-native, Justin Bailey.
Bailey, who just turned 18 years old today, was selected with the 52nd overall pick in the draft. At 6′ 3″, 190 pounds, Bailey has the potential to become a star for his hometown team in the upcoming years.
The forward has been a Sabres fan since he was a kid, and has dreamed about playing for Buffalo.
“I couldn’t have picked a better team to have me,” Bailey said. “I honestly couldn’t be happier right now. I’m at a loss for words.”
Bailey has put together some impressive seasons in the OHL and AYHL and said he can’t wait to get on the ice and show Buffalo what he has.
Bailey is the son of former Buffalo Bills linebacker Carlton Bailey, so Justin was raised in the area.
“Growing up in Buffalo, we lived in the same condo as Matthew Barnaby, Michael Peca and Rob Ray,” Bailey said. “Barnaby helped me along the way with a lot of decision-making.”
The reviews and scouting reports on Bailey are high, and he could bring a lot of excitement to Buffalo in the future.
“Bailey owns one of the best shots in the entire draft class, and has incredible athleticism and skating ability; looks like a linebacker on ice but has great hands. Injuries slowed him some this year and doesn’t play as big as people want him to be, but still competes and puts forth an honest effort each shift.” -Futureconsiderations.ca
Bailey’s OHL coach, Steve Spott had great things to say as well:
“What was most attractive about Justin was the raw ability and upside,” Spott said. “His size and skill made him our No. 1 recruit. He’s first on pucks, he takes it to the net and he has all the ingredients of a top-six forward.”