Just watched a special on NHL Live about Justin Bailey. They mentioned he was from Buffalo and plays for Pat LaFontaine's team who is like 30-1-2 or something like that. Matt Barnaby mentored him. Has anyone seen this kid play? Potential 1st rounder or what?
I've never seen him, but no, he's not a first rounder just based on the fact that he's playing midget AAA U17 a year before his draft season.
I had heard of him before this story though, as he was a high pick in the most recent OHL and USHL drafts (he was a first round pick of the Indiana Ice and a mid round pick of the Kitchener Rangers, can't remember which round right now).
I know that he has his reasons for playing midget AAA this season, but until he performs against better competition, he's not proven enough to knock off any of the known names yet for a first round projection.
He's listed anywhere from 6'3'' to 6'4'', so he has a size advantage over all but about five players in the AYHL, as most are like 5'9''.
If he makes the Ivan Hlinka team next summer, I'll be able to watch him then.
To make that team, he'd have to be at the Select 17 camp which is likely to be in Rochester (no dates announced yet), so that's another opportunity to see him.
Unfortunately, there's no way to watch the AYHL other than in person, so I won't be seeing him anytime soon.
If you're curious to see his stats though, they are here.
He's tied for 3rd in points on his team.
Forward Justin Bailey of the Long Island Royals Midget National Team has spent much of his adolescent life in the company of professional athletes.
His father, Carlton Bailey, spent a decade in the NFL as a linebacker and made three trips to the Super Bowl with the Buffalo Bills. Today, Justin is coached by Hockey Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine and former New York Islander Steve Webb.
When he lived in Buffalo with his mother (Karen Buscaglia), he was introduced to former Sabres' Rob Ray, Michael Peca and Matthew Barnaby, all of whom lived in his condominium complex.
"I still keep in touch with Barnaby the most out of all of them," Bailey said. "He kind of taught me the mental aspect and what to do each season, the things to work on. He's been there and done that."
He also received a recommendation from Danny Briere, through a friend, to give the book, "Mind Gym: An Athlete's Guide to Inner Excellence," written by co-authors Gary Mack and David Casstevens a good read. The 16-year-old power forward admits the book was inspiring.
"It was great to have a guy like that show me a book to help my game," Bailey said. "I was probably 11 or 12 years old and I actually bought another copy to re-read it. The thing that I think separates a good hockey player from a great hockey player is dedication and work ethic. If you can get a mental edge over guys, you'll be set. That's what the book describes."
Devine says they have him in the third round, fwiw.
At the June 20th presser, Devine actually said: "He's a high riser, with most teams having him going somewhere in the second round...big kid that works very hard...needs to fill out his frame...got to adjust to the Canadian game a little bit more, get a little bit more physical...think he's got lots of potential."
Justin Bailey - Forward - Kitchener Rangers
Received 5 votes (Highest was 9th)
"I think he had to make the adjustment from Midgets to the OHL this year so we haven't seen the true potential of him just yet. He will be good value as a second rounder when he develops as an 18 and 19 year old." - Anonymous
"Boy is he loaded with potential. He had a very good rookie season playing behind the Rangers big guns. Injuries early on may have hurt his status, but there’s no arguing his work ethic and he has shown signs of flashiness. He has an NHL caliber shot and his skating is based on hard work." - Anonymous
"Bailey has made me both excited and disappointed this season. His rookie season in the OHL was an up and down affair just as his consistency levels can be in games. He would make you fall in love with him one game after a power rush where he also shows skilled hands and/or a powerful shot; then grow frustrated with him the next few shifts as he seems content to just float around not engaging in the ongoing action. Bailey had a very strong beginning to 2013 in January and February but his play and consistency again dropped off towards the end of the year as he ended the regular season with just one assist in his final eight games. The NHL team looking at Bailey will need to realize it is likely top six role or bust as he just does not have the consistent work rate to maintain a bottom six checking role. With that said his upside is very high if he can put everything together." - Dan Stewart
12. Justin Bailey - Forward - Kitchener Rangers
Bailey is a very raw prospect. This was his first OHL season and he went through some growing pains. But...he's got a very high ceiling, if the team that drafts him is willing to be patient. Bailey has size at 6'3, but is currently very lanky. He can be pushed off the puck too easily right now and needs to add strength to be a more effective player in traffic. But at his size, he's a terrific skater. He changes direction very well and has an extra gear. He's a bit of an awkward skater though, sort of wide strides similar to Wayne Simmonds when he played in the OHL. Offensively, his biggest weapon is his shot. He's got massive goal scoring potential at the next level. His snap and wrist shot are fantastic; both hard and accurate. But, I think there has to be some concern that he scored only 2 goals in his final 21 games (including playoffs). He looked gassed towards the end of the year, further proof that conditioning is an area of concern. The rest of his game is also a work in progress. For his size, he could stand to play more physical and engage in traffic more consistently. His two-way game is evolving and has potential because of his size and skating abilities. When he becomes the sum of his parts, Bailey could be a very good player and that's what has drawn the interest of scouts.