The New York Islanders 2016 first round selection Kieffer Bellows plan is to be able to play in the NHL by the 2018-2019 season.
When the New York Islanders drafted Kieffer Bellows 19th overall last year they knew he was going to be playing at Boston University. The point is that they know he was a work in progress like most late first round selections, which is completely fine and expected.
Bellows will be playing is hockey this year in the WHL which is a big step up this year as he goes from playing just 34 games at BU to playing a much more intense schedule in 2017-2018 with the Portland Winterhawks.
Here’s what came out of Isles camp today from Bellows:
That’s pretty high expectations that the kid has for himself. I’m not saying that as a bad thing, I’m just curious to see how he responds to a more full-time schedule this year playing in Portland.
In 34 games he put 14 points which over a 72 game season (what the WHL plays) that would be a pace of 30 points. That’s not necessarily the point production you would think would get him into an NHL role.
Although to be fair I like what I’ve seen from Bellows. He seems to have the ability to take over a game, at least that’s what I gathered from watching team USA play in the World Juniors. He put up three points in seven games in the tournament.
Here’s his scouting report from Elite Prospects:
"Kieffer Bellows is a skilled power forward who can dominate games. Possesses high end puckhandling ability as well as a crisp, accurate release on his shot. Proficient forechecker and loves to win puck battles, which stands out as a consistent part of his game. Strong skater who can bull through the opposition or go around them. Drives the net hard and is a decisive finisher. All-in-all, a competitor who punishes the opposition physically, as well as on the scoreboard."
If he can put it together I think Bellows can be a big part of the Islanders for years to come. He seems like an Anders Lee type except with a better shot and Bellows is a better skater as well.
His wish may end up coming true. But, first he has to produce at the WHL level before he can be considered an option for the Islanders. Luckily for him though the Islanders are set to have a litany of forwards coming off the books so chances are he’ll get a real shot at the roster.