For a few years now, Justin Bailey has been thought of as one of the better pieces in the Sabres’ farm system. After having successful years with Kitchener and the Soo Greyhounds of the OHL, Justin made his pro hockey debut with the Rochester Americans of the AHL last year putting up 20 goals in 70 games in his rookie campaign.
Almost exactly a year ago, Bailey got his first shot with the Sabres and made his NHL debut against the Philadelphia Flyers. Anyone who watched the game noticed Bailey right away with his electrifying speed and creation of a lot of opportunities. Bailey played eight games in his stint with Buffalo last year not registering a point and heading back to Rochester.
There were lots of expectations for Bailey heading into the 2016-17 season, and most picturing him with a permanent spot in the Sabres’ lineup. After an average training camp, everyone, including Bailey, were surprised and disappointed to not see the flashy Buffalo product make his hometown team.
Bailey started slow in Rochester likely due to the disappointment of being back in the AHL, but eventually came to life and earned himself a recall to Buffalo. The Buffalo native scored his first career NHL goal when he received an Evander Kane pass, pulled up, and ripped a shot five-hole past Henrik Lundqvist at MSG. Pretty bad way to get your first eh?
Bailey was sent back to Rochester after nine games with Buffalo and was on a man on a mission. He has eleven goals in his last twelve AHL games and has his nineteenth goal in thirty-nine games. To put that in perspective, his rookie year in the AHL was a success when he had twenty goals in seventy games.
The speedy Buffalo native was recalled today and expected to be in the lineup when the Sabres host the Senators. Bringing speed, skill, and scoring ability to the lineup will be an instant boost to the Sabres and will be noticeable immediately.
Puck drop is at 7 PM EST.