Expect the New York Islanders and their new President of Hockey Operations and General Manager, Lou Lamoriello to have a busy off-season. Lou would be wise to hold on to Kieffer Bellows and use his premium draft picks as trade chips instead.
It’s no secret that everyone expects the New York Islanders organization to be one of the busiest, if not the busiest in the NHL this summer. Ths Isles must land a number one goaltender and improve their blue line to be competitive next season.
You can add hiring a new head coach now as well. Hopefully, whoever they hire can come up with a better overall team defensive scheme than they had last season.
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Bellows is the 19th overall pick of the 2016 Draft. At 6’0, 204 lbs, the power forward (left wing) brings a lot to the table, including strong genes, as his dad, Brian Bellows had a long career in the NHL.
Bellows has size, is a goal scorer, plays a solid overall game, and has intangibles as well (alternate captain on Team USA at last years World Junior Championships). He is coming off a strong year playing with the Portland Winter Hawks in the AHL, as well as being one of the best players at last years World Junior Championships.
Easy to see why other clubs would want Bellows from the Isles in a trade.
Move the Picks Instead
It would behoove Lou and the Isles to move the premium picks they have in this months draft and keep Bellows. The Isles have two picks in the first round (11th & 12th), as well as two in the second (41st & 43rd).
We just have to go back to last year’s draft to see the value of a high first-round pick. The Coyotes moved the 7th overall pick (along with Anthony DeAngelo) and landed Derek Stepan and Antti Raanta in return.
At selections eleven and 12, there will be a number of enticing names still on the draft board. The players most likely still available will be, Ty Smith, Joe Veleno, Barrett Hayton, Joel Farabee, and Bode Wilde. All of those kids project to be future core players in the NHL in the near future.
Bellows Should Stay
Bellows is on the cusp of starting his NHL career. He has already put in two years of development since he has been drafted.
The Hockey News ranked Bellows as the 25th best prospect in the sport, on their recent top 50 in their Future Watch issue.
Bellows might need a bit more seasoning come the start of next season. However, now he will be just a phone call away in Bridgeport (AHL). Bellows can help the Isles next season and for years to come.
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Keep in mind under special circumstances Bellows is tradeable. But that scenario would mean the Isles would bring back a proven young defenseman, such as a Jacob Trouba. Outside of that Bellows, future needs to be on Long Island.