Justin Bailey – The Next Ones: NHL 2013 Draft Prospect Profile

Justin Bailey has been surrounded by hockey since he was a baby. Growing up right outside of Buffalo, hockey has become a staple in a young kid’s life. It certainly helps to have guys like Matthew Barnaby, Rob Ray, and Michael Peca around, too. Coming through a hockey hotbed like Buffalo, Bailey was always going to be a hockey player. It was just a matter of what path he would take to get there.

Justin Bailey [photo: David Chan]

Justin Bailey [photo: David Chan]

Justin Bailey THW Close-Up:

Date of birth: 7/1/1995

Place of birth: Williamsville, NY

Ht: 6’3″      Wt: 190 lbs

Shoots: Right

Position: Center

NHL Draft Eligibility: 2013

Twitter: @JustinBailey95

THW The Next Ones Rankings (January 2013): 50

Other Rankings:

THW War Room Rankings (April): 30

ISS: Not Ranked

Future Considerations: Not Ranked

Craig Button: 46

Consensus aggregate of several services (NHL Numbers): 43

CS Final Rankings for North American Skaters: 38

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[NHL 2013 Draft Guide – The Next Ones Draft Headquarters: Your quintessential draft resource]

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Justin Bailey has been surrounded by hockey since he was a baby.  Growing up right outside of Buffalo, hockey has become a staple in a young kid’s life.  It certainly helps to have guys like Matthew Barnaby, Rob Ray, and Michael Peca around, too.  Coming through a hockey hotbed like Buffalo, Bailey was always going to be a hockey player.  It was just a matter of what path he would take to get there.

At age 15, after being selected by the Indiana Ice of the USHL and the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL, Justin had the opportunity to play in one of the best developmental leagues leading up to his draft year.  However, he felt it would be better to spend the year playing with the Long Island Royals of the AYHL – a team coached by another Buffalo Sabres legend, Pat Lafontaine – and boy did it pay off.

Bailey developed his skills in Long Island and led the team to a National Championship.  The opportunity helped round out his game and make him a solid offensive player.  He was able to translate his talent with the Kitchener Rangers this season with 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) as a rookie.  Early in the season, he was on the receiving end of a devastating open-ice hit by Windsor’s Pat Sieloff (video here) that left him with a concussion, but he came back raring to go:

His greatest assets are his heavy shot and deceptively quick foot speed, which you don’t see very often from a 6’3″ center.  His poise with the puck also stands out, along with his ability to be patient and wait for the defender/goalie to make the first move.  He’s still a bit lanky, but his imposing size helps him shield the puck and his long reach is especially key in being able to pokecheck in defensive situations.

Justin had to deal with a few injuries early in the season, but he’s come back from every one trying to prove himself for the 2013 Draft in Newark, New Jersey.

Justin Bailey (right) with the Kitchener Rangers. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Justin Bailey (right) with the Kitchener Rangers. (Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

Where Will He End Up In June:

In all likelihood, Bailey will be picked somewhere in the 2nd round of the draft.  He has shown a lot of flair, heart, and skill, so it shouldn’t surprise anyone if an NHL team with a late 1st round pick decides to nab him before he drops.

Scout’s Honor:

“An OHL rookie, Bailey has done well to cement himself as a future OHL star. But the season didn’t start quite as well as one would have hoped. Ross MacLean says “I think a lot of people brushed him off earlier in the year because every time he tried to play the game you’d expect him to, he got hurt.  I think he’s much more dynamic than people give him credit for and always feel like he’s been branded unfairly.  I love his work ethic and he’s one of very few players from the O for this draft that I truly believe shoots to score every time.  He’s got a lot of bulking up to do, but he’s going to be a very good professional player.” Another contributor agrees about his shot, saying “No question, Bailey has one of the best shots of this draft class. A howitzer.” It’s that upside that really has people talking. “Upside is through the roof,” says one contributor. Another says, “Gets better and better every time I see him and he has an NHL body working in his favor. Skating is better then it looks as he can really get around the ice with hard work. Just get the feeling we will be saying in a few year’s time, wow he is a lot better then I thought.” But, there are some concerns about the development of his “overall” game and strength. Burstyn and LaFortune from McKeen’s say, “Bailey needs to be more physical, he competes and plays an honest game however he also gets pushed off the puck far too easily and doesn’t stay in front of the net as long as he should.” There appears to be no question that Bailey is a bit of a project with a raw skill set, but the upside is there to warrant a high selection.”

Brock Otten – OHL Prospects

“Bailey has a tremendous work ethic – a win at all cost mentality. His intention is to try and score on each shift without being a liability in his own zone. He has a tremendous shot. Skating isn’t a concern, but he’s more of a hard working skater than he is fluid. His physicality isn’t what you’d expect from a 6’3 power forward, but once he fills out his frame, he could be a force.”

Dominic Tiano – In the O Radio

“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.”

Aaron Vickers – Future Considerations

 Statistics:

Bio/Interview(s)/Links:

Featured piece on Bailey by THW’s David O’Connor

Interview with Neate Sager of Yahoo Sports’ Buzzing the Net

Interview with The Hockey News

Interview with NHL.com

ETA:

3-4 years

Risk/Reward Analysis:

Risk: 1/5    Reward: 4/5

NHL Potential:

2nd or 3rd line center capable of consistently putting up points

Strengths:

Speed

Skating

Size

Shot

Puck Control

Hockey Sense

Poise

Patience

Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:

Using his body more physically

Adding some extra weight to his lanky frame

Focusing more on the defensive parts of his game

Fantasy Hockey Potential:

Offensive: 8/10   Defensive: 2/10

NHL Player Comparison:

– I liken Bailey’s skillset to Jeff Carter.  His heavy shot and ability to keep the puck on his stick is reminiscent of Carter’s play.

– Hall of Fame Comparison: Mats Sundin

Video(s):

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THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph

Follow Shawn Reznik on Twitter: @ShawnTHW

Shawn Reznik

Shawn Reznik

Shawn started at The Hockey Writers in 2011 covering junior hockey/NCAA/European leagues for the site. In 2013, he became the Lead Writer for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Shawn Reznik
@iannetta It was dumber the Flyers didn’t give him a two-way deal. - 3 hours ago

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