Sabres' Bailey is trying to make an impression

Alex Nylander was the only Sabre to score a goal in Wednesday's loss

Paul Hamilton
September 26, 2018 - 10:08 pm

Photo: Charles LeClaire - USA TODAY Sports

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Pittsburgh, PA (WGR 550) - Justin Bailey is starting his fourth pro season after being draft in the second round of the 2013 draft. He’s played 52 NHL games and 159 AHL games. Bailey has just five goals and three assists in the show, but he does have a 23-goal season and a 20-goal season in Rochester. The 23 goals came in just 52 games.

Now is the time for Bailey if he wants to become a regular in the National Hockey League. He’s 23-years-old and has good size and elite speed. What he hasn’t had yet is consistency in his game.

Bailey has been good in training camp this year and in the preseason games, but he has no points to show for his efforts. Phil Housley said, “I think he’s been a lot more physical than in the past and he’s used his speed and that obviously is one of his assets, getting on the forecheck and trying to disrupt things and trying to get some more zone time.

“That’s one thing that we’re working on with him was just hanging on to more pucks, he’s a big guy and should be able to put some guys on his back and wear the other team down, but he has used his speed and has gotten some good looks, he just hasn’t capitalized.”

Housley wants to see more as Bailey played Tuesday night in Clinton and was going again Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

Bailey had some good moments in this game, but after two periods, he had been on the ice for two of the Penguins' five goals.

Just like earlier in the preseason, his best play was on the backcheck to break up a dangerous play.

In the third period, Bailey used his speed to get loose through the left circle, but rifled the puck wide.

Probably the best young player on the ice was Alex Nylander. The kid worked a nice give-and-go with Jason Pominville to score. Pominville said there was a lot of communication between the two of them during the game and he was impressed with the kid.

Nylander feels he’s done everything he could to make the team and he’s just going to keep concentrating on getting better. I would guess there will be more cuts to Rochester on Thursday.

The final preseason game is Friday in Oshawa against the Islanders. Brian Koziol will start our coverage beginning at 7:00.

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