OTTAWA — The Toronto Maple Leafs signed free agent Casey Bailey to a two-year entry-level contract on Saturday.
The 23-year-old forward has spent the past three years playing at Penn State University. This season the Anchorage, Alaska native led the Big-10 Conference with 22 goals, while collecting 40 points in 36 games.
“He’s a big-body guy who’s had an excellent year in college,” said Leafs general manager Dave Nonis prior to the Leafs game versus the Senators in Ottawa. “His release is something you’ll notice right away. He puts himself in position to shoot.”
Bailey, six-foot-three 195 pounds, is expected to join Toronto before the regular season is over. The Leafs still have 11 games remaining.
“He’s got some things to take care of, but our hope and expectation is that we’ll get him to Toronto as soon as possible,” said Nonis. “(We’ll) get him on the ice and see when and if it makes sense to put him into a game, but I would expect that will happen before the end of the season.”
Nonis added that Bailey had been on the rebuilding club’s radar for a while and the Leafs increased their interest as his season at Penn State was winding down.
“I think it’s pretty obvious that we’re going to do what we can to put some new blood in our organization,” said Nonis.
In 96 career games with the Nittany Lions, Bailey registered 45 goals and 35 assists to go along with 91 penalty minutes.