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Justin Bailey Named Sharks Masterton Nominee

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Credit: Dean Tait/Hockey Shots

Justin Bailey has been named the San Jose Sharks nominee for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.

The Masterton Trophy is awarded by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association to the player who is deemed to exhibit the most perseverance and commitment to hockey.

San Jose’s PHWA chapter named Bailey its nominee after he became a full-time NHLer for the first time in his nine-year professional career.

Bailey spent time bouncing between the AHL and NHL in the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks organizations before landing with the Sharks.

He did not get a contract right away, either.

Bailey was invited to San Jose’s camp on a PTO following two shoulder surgeries last year, earned an AHL contract and then impressed enough with the Barracuda to score a two-way deal with the San Jose Sharks six weeks later.

“I think for me, it was about taking the years of experience I’ve had pro in different organizations,” Bailey said.

“But for me, the staples of my game are my speed, my size, and my physicality, so I knew coming into camp, whether they knew me or they didn’t, I wanted to make a name for myself from Day 1. My game doesn’t change. Top-six, top-nine, that doesn’t change anything at all. I am always going to play hard, play physical and play fast.”

In 54 games, Bailey has five goals and 14 points for the Sharks.

“Getting to the NHL and staying there, that’s something they don’t talk about too much, staying there is probably the hardest part,” Bailey said. “Everyday it’s been a tryout for me this whole season. You’re on a one-year deal to try out every single practice, every single game, so I just kind of brought the mentality from the start of training camp and it’s filtered into where I’m at right now.”

Here is the PHWA San Jose chapter’s bio on Bailey:

Bailey bounced between the AHL and NHL throughout the first eight years of his professional career and didn’t have a contract to start this season. After spending last season in the AHL, following two shoulder surgeries, the Sharks invited him to camp on a PTO. Bailey earned an AHL contract after camp and impressed enough to sign a two-way deal with the Sharks just over six weeks later. Bailey, who is biracial, experienced racism as a teenager and supports kids who have had similar experiences. “The older you get, the more you realize things you went through as a kid are not really the way they should be,” Bailey said, “and the more you want to step in and do everything you can to help.”

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