The Buffalo Sabres and Philadelphia Flyers have come to terms on a one-for-one trade. The Flyers have announced tonight that they have acquired forward Justin Bailey in exchange for forward Taylor Leier. Bailey and Leier are each expected to remain in the AHL for the time being, but likely to get looks prior to the end of the season. Both players are impending restricted free agents in need of new contracts in the off-season.
Bailey, 23, adds yet another power forward to the mix for the Flyers. At 6’4″, 214 lbs., Bailey brings a heavy game, but also has an offensive touch. Bailey has recorded 20 points through 37 games with the Rochester Americans so far this season and has a history of production at the minor league level. While he had yet to be called up this season, Bailey does have 52 games of NHL experience with the Sabres and eight points over that time. The 2013 second-round pick should get a look in Philadelphia down the stretch and would be a prime candidate to fill the hole that Wayne Simmonds’ probable departure would leave in the Flyers’ lineup next year.
Leier, 24, played the entire 2017-18 season with the Flyers, before being sent down to the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms early this year. He heads to Buffalo with 55 NHL games and seven points of his own, similar production to Bailey. Leier’s AHL scoring numbers are also remarkably close to Bailey’s, as the swap seems to be of equal offensive talent. However, Leier is a far different style of player; the former fourth-rounder plays a game based around quickness and finesse and may be able to find a more suitable fit with the Sabres than with the Flyers. Buffalo and head coach Phil Housley have found success with role players thus far and Leier could be next up.