Maple Leafs sign college free-agent forward Casey Bailey
Tom Szczerbowski / USA Today

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed highly sought-after college free agent forward Casey Bailey to a two-year entry-level contract Saturday.

The Buffalo Sabres were expected to sign Bailey, but talks between the two sides fell apart, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman. The 23-year-old Penn State forward attracted a lot of NHL attention after leading the Big 10 in goal-scoring as a junior and should join the Maple Leafs before the end of the season.

Toronto has already been active on the free-agent market, signing Russian forward Nikita Soshnikov to an entry-level contract as it attempts to recover from a disastrous season. Bailey's most obvious assets are his size (he is listed at 6-foot-3) and his booming shot, which the Maple Leafs could use after their offensive production fell off a cliff in December.

Bailey will use up the first year of his deal if he plays for Toronto before the end of the season, which was apparently a requirement for any team interested in signing him. If he does use the first year of his deal in 2014-15, he will be a restricted free agent in 2016 following his rookie season.

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Maple Leafs sign college free-agent forward Casey Bailey
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