BUFFALO – Sabres prospect Justin Bailey, the AHL’s hottest scorer, mostly practiced on the fourth line today beside center Derek Grant and Nick Deslauriers.
Grant and Deslauriers have zero goals and three assists between them in 45 games this season. Bailey, meanwhile, has scored five goals and seven points in his last five games with the Rochester Americans.
While Bailey, who was recalled this morning, might start on the fourth line Saturday afternoon in Boston, the second-year pro could earn a promotion.
“He’s got some great speed down the ice, and that’s where he’s to be effective for us,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma said inside HarborCenter. “That could be on any line. It could be on the fourth line, or it could be next to Jack (Eichel) for a portion of that time. But that’s something he has to earn with his play.”
The Sabres summoned Bailey, 21, because winger William Carrier hurt his hand fighting Adam McQuaid early in Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the Bruins. Carrier’s hand isn’t broken, Bylsma said. The rookie has had a hand injury all season.
“He exasperated it a little bit last night with the scuffle,” Bylsma said.
Given his hot streak, Bailey was the natural choice to come up. The Williamsville native has 13 goals and 22 points in 31 games with the Amerks.
“I got a little bit of confidence going into the break scoring-wise,” Bailey said. “Lately, I’ve just been clicking. I’ve found some good chemistry with Timmy Kennedy. I’ve felt pretty good and pretty hot down there.”
Bailey has zero points in 10 NHL games, including two this season. Check back later for a full story on Bailey.
In others news, Bylsma said defenseman Dmitry Kulikov (back) won’t accompany the Sabres to Boston. Kulikov, who missed last game, is day-to-day.