The Leafs are continuing to sign amateur / international pro prospects to dry and find a diamond in the rough.
Toronto Maple Leafs get:
Casey Bailey, 23, RW:
- Entry level contract, which will last two years past this season because he is going to play now;
- 45G, 35A for 80P in 96 NCAA games;
- Led Pennsylvania State in points this season.
The Leafs have gone back to the old, Burkean practice of signing college free agents with Casey Bailey. There is nothing to oppose here, as the guy wants to try to make the pros and he comes cheap (I assume).
There are significant reasons to worry that Casey Bailey won’t become a regular NHLer, however. The biggest of those is that, in his sophomore year, he scored 13 points in 32 games. Now, who knows why that was, but the reason his NCAA numbers aren’t more impressive is because of that year when he disappeared offensively.
- Did he have less ice-time?
- Did he have off-ice problems?
- Did he play hurt and just not tell anyone?
Who knows! But there’s a massive discrepancy between Casey Bailey’s point-per-game freshman year, his sophomore year, and his nearly point-per-game junior year.
That being said, this is still a smart move by the Toronto Maple Leafs. Every time the Leafs do it, it’s smart. Even when the player doesn’t work out – like the vast majority of players the Leafs have found through College. The reason for this is that the Leafs are rich. They can essentially buy up all the young talent that is no longer draft eligible and give them all try outs.
Why not? Eventually they’re bound to find someone better than Tyler Bozak. Remember, Adam Oates came to the league this way. (As did Brian Rafalski – though he had to play in Europe first – and a number of other great players.)