The aim for New York Islanders prospect Kieffer Bellows going into the 2018-19 season was to make the team. With some new additions to the roster that seems unlikely.
Kieffer Bellows’ goal for 2018-19 was to make the New York Islanders 2018-19 roster. It’s all the son of former NHL’er Brian Bellows could talk about.
A year ago NHL.com’s Brian Compton asked the Islanders first-round pick from 2015 what his plan was, and in no uncertain terms, the Isles prospect let it be known that his sights were on the NHL in 2018-19.
With the year Bellows had in 2017-18 playing in the WHL that plan looked like it would absolutely come to fruition. That was until new General Manager Lou Lamoriello picked up a number of player in free agency. Players that will block Kieffer Bellows from making the jump.
Since July 1st, Lou Lamoriello has added Jan Kovar, Tom Kuhnhackl, Valtteri Filppula, Matt Martin and Leo Komarov to the Islanders offensive line. With the loss of John Tavares, Nikolai Kulemin, Alan Quine, and Chris Wagner there’s no net change to the numbers on the Isles roster.
Five players left and five players were brought in. But with the contingent of players that were already here, it doesn’t leave any space to bring in a sixth player. Like Kieffer Bellows.
With that turnover on the Islanders roster the opening day forward lines could resemble the following:
That lineup has an Andrew Ladd playing on his off wing. It has Ross Johnston not on the playing roster after signing a four-year $4 million deal. And it has Leo Komarov on the scratch pad after a four-year $12 million deal with a modified no-trade clause.
I’m sure the actual opening day roster will be different than what I’ve put forward. But the point is clear. How is a player like Kieffer Bellows supposed to fit in here?
Lou Lamoriello has been telling anyone that will listen that he’s still learning whats in the system. He’s still gathering information about the players around him. That obviously goes for Kieffer Bellows.
His 41 goals and 33 assists for 74 points with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL last season were fantastic, but that doesn’t guarantee him a spot on the roster. Lou’s moves this offseason 100 percent confirm this.
As it stands the plan seems to be that Bellows will play at least a year in the AHL before being promoted. Unless he can prove to the team otherwise.
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Bellows is going to have to have a lights-out training camp to convince Lou to pull a P.A. Parenteau and maybe get rid of a player he just signed in the offseason. If he doesn’t he’ll be joining Michael Dal Colle in Bridgeport.