Justin Bailey was selected by the Buffalo Sabres in the second round (No. 52) of the 2013 NHL Draft at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. In his first season with the Kitchener Rangers in the Ontario Hockey League last season, Bailey had 17 goals, 36 points and a plus-22 rating. The Williamsville, N.Y., native has offered to maintain a blog and provide added insight for NHL.com this week during the Traverse City Prospects Tournament in Michigan.
The guys met up in Buffalo on Tuesday and got a good night's sleep there and got to Traverse City on [Wednesday], had a good practice and you could tell right from the practice that the tempo is definitely high and fast-paced.
There are a couple of things I want to prove while here. There's some other teams here that didn't pick me in the Draft and it's always good when you see a ton of guys watching the games. It's good to maybe put some doubt in their head on why they didn't take me. But, besides that, when given the opportunity from Buffalo, I think it's just to show I'm the player they wanted and to show my offensive and physical side and being able to use all the tools I have. I want to show them my best game and keep progressing as the year goes on.
Over the summer, I worked out a lot in Buffalo and Marcus Foligno is someone who was always there and he gave me a little bit of a heads up of what to expect when they won the tournament in 2011. I was ready to go when I got here and the expectation is that we will win again. Our opener against the Columbus Blue Jackets was a good test; there were a lot of good things that we did on the power-play and penalty kill. We also held on to a one goal lead [in a 3-2 victory], which was also good to see.
From the drop of the puck on [Thursday], I think I got lucky and had a goal in the first three minutes on my first shot so that gives you some confidence right away but I just tried not to get too high and just play my game and I think that's what I did [in a 3-2 victory over Columbus].
I played on a line with Trainer Peter and in the middle was Justin Kea. I think we played a good game. Obviously we're a little bit of a bigger line, so we went out there and played physical and added into the offense. So we played good and we'll see what the lineup will be next time.
My roommate at the hotel is Joel Armia. It's not that bad of a language barrier; he knows enough. He's into baseball and that's a world-wide sport, so we're watching baseball. It's good to meet older guys; he's a first-round pick and someone very skilled offensively so to be able to ask questions while I'm here is great.
I think on Saturday we have a team function but no one has told us. There will be some down time so our team so our team will get together quite often off the ice.
Until next time.