With Kieffer Bellows fighting for a roster spot in 2018-2019 with the New York Islanders, will he see the ice with the big club more than 20 times this year?
Last year, Kieffer Bellows decided to leave the NCAA and take his talents to the WHL. It was arguably the best play the New York Islanders’ prospect could’ve made. Bellows exploded for 74 points (41 goals, 33 assists).
Last year, Bellows made a bold statement saying that he wants to make the team out of camp this year (2018-2019). It’s going to be an extremely tough task with the Islanders current roster.
As of right now, the Islanders have Anders Lee, Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson, Andrew Ladd, Leo Komarov and Matt Martin who play left wing. Yes, not all of these guys will be playing on the left wing but it certainly puts him at a disadvantage going forward.
He, and Josh Ho-Sang a like, are going to have to have a monster camp just to get a roster spot coming out of camp. They have to not only have a good camp for themselves as young players but they also have to outshine veterans and convince the new regime that they deserve to be in the lineup.
In the past, the Islanders favored older veterans but with a new regime in place there’s no loyalty to older players, everyone has a clean slate.
With that being said the most likely scenario is Bellows starting in the AHL. If we’ve learned anything about him over the past three years covering him it’s that he lives for the big stage. Heck every year at the World Tournament he puts on a show. He had nine goals in seven games last year in the tourney.
So in theory he should be able to handle the AHL pretty easily. The question then becomes when does he get the call to the NHL?
I think Bellows will play in the NHL this year but I think it’ll be under 19.5 games. He might get couple weeks at the end of the year when the Isles are out of things at the end of March into early April.
If Bellows shows that he can belongs at the NHL level in those handful of games, which is highly likely than he should be able to win a job pretty easily come 2019-2020 along with Oliver Wahlstrom and Josh Ho-Sang.
The Isles have an intriguing prospect pool and can rebuild this thing pretty quickly. Bellows is at the forefront of prospects to be excited about.