BUFFALO – Of the 17 forwards on the Team USA preliminary world junior championship roster released today, only two youngsters – Adam Erne and Auston Mathews – have scored more goals this season than Williamsville native Justin Bailey, who was left off despite having 15 goals in only 24 games with the Kitchener Rangers.
As I wrote about two weeks ago, making the world junior squad has been a huge motivational tool for the 19-year-old Sabres prospect.
Was the slick winger robbed? Perhaps. Bailey certainly has the statistics – he also has 15 assists – to be on a preliminary roster.
Remember, Bailey wasn’t invited to USA’s big summer camp in Lake Placid. The odds were stacked against the 52nd pick in 2013. He’s a likable guy with a positive outlook and strong support. He’s capable of turning a negative experience into a positive one.
Compher, the 35th pick in 2013, has three goals and 10 points with the University of Michigan. Fasching, the 118th pick by Los Angeles in 2013, has five goals and seven points in 12 games with the University of Minnesota.
Sabres defenseman prospect Anthony Florentino, an invite to the summer camp, was left off the roster. The hard-hitting Florentino has four assists with Providence College.