Inside the Senate will be taking a look at 40 prospects ahead of the Entry Draft on June 30. Up next is Justin Bailey...
It hasn’t been an easy path to the draft for Justin Bailey, but if things go according to plan from here on out, he could stand to be one of the home runs from 2013.
At 6-foot-3, 194 pounds, Bailey had an up and down season with the OHL’s Kitchener Rangers, recording 36 points in 57 games over the course of his first campaign in Ontario. Prior to his stint with the Rangers, he played under Hall of Fame centre Pat LaFontaine as a member of the Long Island Royals. Bailey recorded 34 points in 22 games and helped the Royals win a national title and lived with LaFontaine during his time there. A two game stop with Indiana of the USHL also factored in for Bailey prior to settling on Kitchener over the NCAA route and Michigan State.
His skill with the puck and ability to create in the offensive zone are what excite about Bailey’s game the most. He can generate effectively using a combination of his good speed and hands, and brings a quality shot with him, which allows him to be a finisher. His competitiveness is also praised as he is willing to muck it up in tough parts of the rink on a nightly basis.
Concerns with Bailey’s game are primarily physical. A focal point for his development will be filling in his large frame as a way of enhancing his ability to dominate smaller opponents and compete more effectively at the higher levels. His injury history is a red flag for teams. Bailey missed parts of 2013 with a concussion and a chest injury, which cumulatively slowed his adjustment to the OHL game and had two shoulder separations prior to his arrival.
Essentially, if Bailey can find a way to blend his physical tools with his pure ability he will have the opportunity to be a big time contributor at the professional level. The potential to fill out his power forward frame, coupled with his naturally gifted hands and speed serve to complement that role better than most traditional big-bodied forwards. A crucial part of his next step will simply be staying healthy. If he can play as many games as possible and continue to make strides, he will be a very high ceiling prospect.
Given the risk associated with him at this time, expect Bailey to be a mid-round pick, though there is a chance a team in love with his potential could pick him up earlier.
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