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Penn State Hockey: Casey Bailey Heads To NHL, Signs With Maple Leafs

by on March 21, 2015 6:59 PM

Penn State forward Casey Bailey will forego his final year of eligibility and sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs the franchise announced Saturday night.

The junior All-Big Ten first team forward led the Nittany Lions with 22 goals and 18 assists for a team high 40 points this season.

Bailey finished the year seventh in the nation in total goals for 2014-15 and was a threat to score from nearly anywhere in the offensive zone.The 6-foot-3, 205 pound Anchorage, Alaska native ends his career with 45 goals, 18 assists and 80 total points in 96 games for the Nittany Lions.

“I am truly fortunate and humbled by this opportunity to sign with such a prestigious Original Six organization, the Toronto Maple Leafs," Bailey said in a statement on Saturday night. "I would also like to acknowledge how thankful I am for all of the love and support I have gotten over the years from my friends and family. I would not be where I am today without them. Also I would like to sincerely thank all of my coaches, teammates and staff at Penn State for getting me prepared for the next stage of my career.”

Bailey will have an uphill battle to start off his professional career playing with a Maple Leaf organization struggling at the bottom of the Atlantic Division with a 27-39-6 record. Conversely, Bailey's affiliation with a franchise in need of talent may see Bailey make a much more significant impact early.

From the perspective of Penn State, the Nittany Lions will now look to rising star David Goodwin who was second on the team with 34 points, 15 of those points coming in the form of goals. Penn State just ended a successful 18 win season, including a 13-2-3 mark at home in only the third year of Division I play. The season ended with a three game losing streak.

Bailey leaves Penn State to join Toronto along with Jake Gardiner, brother of outgoing senior Max Gardiner. The Maple Leafs face Ottawa tonight and Bailey could join the team in time for Monday night’s home game against Minnesota at 7:30 p.m.

 While head coach Guy Gadowsky would have undoubtedly liked to have kept one of the nation's top goal scorers, Bailey's departure to the pros will not go unnoticed on the recruiting trail.

“I’m extremely happy for Casey,” Gadowsky said. “He’s a great guy and a great player who had a great year. He deserves a lot of credit for his commitment to our objectives with and without the puck, and for the amount of work that he put into the weight room this summer and throughout the season with (strength & conditioning coach) Cam Davidson."


 



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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