The New York Islanders’ 19th overall pick in 2016, Kieffer Bellows, has been a common name that is brought up around the fanbase. The young forward’s resumé is exciting and promising. However, his short time in the NHL has been underwhelming. The 22-year old left-winger has not been given a stable and sufficient amount of time in the NHL. The acclimation period for a young player can take time, but Bellows has the potential to become a staple NHLer. He will make an impact in the future, but can Bellows make an impact in the Islanders’ current playoff situation?
Kieffer Bellows Resumé
Kieffer Bellows is a product of the United States Development Program. Bellows has put on the USA jersey more than 80 times and has excelled with the program. He has also played in multiple World Junior Championships, winning a bronze and gold medal. In the U-20 World Junior Championships, Bellows broke the record for most goals scored in the tournament with nine.
After his World Juniors experience, Bellows played a season in the NCAA with Boston University. In 34 games played, he scored seven goals and seven assists for a total of 14 points. Finally, Bellows got a step closer to the NHL by playing with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, now the Bridgeport Islanders. With the Islanders’ AHL affiliate team, Bellows totaled 125 games played and recorded 34 goals and 16 assists for 50 points. He also received a few NHL call-ups and has played a total of 22 NHL games earning five goals and one assist.
Filling A Massive Hole
New York experienced an unfortunate blow to their roster with the loss of Captain Anders Lee due to a torn ACL. The experienced left-winger is known for his power-driven play. Also, his willingness to go to dirty areas is a threat in every game. Bellows plays a similar game to the Islanders captain, using his body to drive to the net and make himself a force in the play. Both from Edina, Minnesota, Bellows and Lee also share the same skating, skills, and shooting coach. The young kid and the captain skate together during the off-season. Moreover, Bellows plays with Nick Leddy and Brock Nelson in Da Beauty League. Bellows has a lot of familiarity with the Islanders’ staple NHL players. Furthermore, Bellows earned time on the first line with Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle and looked significantly more comfortable. In fact, Bellows potted his first NHL goal on the line.
The Islanders need a spark in their lineup desperately. In both games of the Pittsburgh Penguins series, their weakness has been the offense. In the first game, Kyle Palmieri stood up and led the team with two goals. However, Tristan Jarry also played an extremely mediocre game. If the Islanders want a chance in the series, they need to have massive offensive games against the high-scoring Penguins. Placing Bellows into the line-up would give him his first career playoff start and immediately add energy to the roster. Bellows would look to prove himself and work to make an impact in the series. Lastly, if Bellows can replicate any part of Lee’s game, it would be a surprise weapon for the Islanders in the playoffs.
Head coach Barry Trotz has tried multiple line combinations and techniques to increase offense. Also, the absence of Anders Lee is noticeable and impossible to replace. However, Kieffer Bellows’ style of play mimics that of the Captain. Giving the young left-winger his first NHL playoff game could be the spark that he and the Islanders need. The promising future of Bellows with the Islanders can start in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The risk is there, but the reward could shift the momentum in favor of New York. Kieffer Bellows is available for the Islanders and he has the potential to make an impact, but it could take an injury or poor performance to give him his chance.