Islanders: When is it time to be concerned about Kieffer Bellows?
By Matt O'Leary
With just three points in 19 games in the AHL, when is it time to start getting concerned about Kieffer Bellows’ future with the New York Islanders?
I’m not ready to toss out the “b word” just yet when it comes to Kieffer Bellows. The former New York Islanders‘ first-round pick from 2016 has gotten off to an extremely slow start, again, in the AHL this year.
In 19 games, Bellows has just three points (1 goal, 2 assists). In fact, his play has yielded him a couple of games on the scratchpad. That’s not what you want to see from Bellows at 21-years-old in the AHL.
The frustrating part is Kieffer showed signs of improvement not all that long ago. Coming off a rough year in 2016-2017 with Boston University, Bellows was a stud in the WHL. He had a monster 74 point – 41 goal season with the Portland Winterhawks.
Expectations were high for Bellows for his first year in the AHL and he flopped. In 73 games, he had just 19 points (12 goals, 7 assists), 101 penalty minutes and was a -20. Not exactly appealing to the eye.
Some were quick to pull the trigger on the “b word” when talking about Bellows, and while I’m not quite there yet I am absolutely starting to get concerned for him.
There’s a long way to go on the season, but he needs to turn it around sooner rather than later. Bellows’ greatest asset is his goal-scoring ability, if that’s not going, he’s not nearly as effective a player. He’s kind of similar to Anders Lee in that regard.
Bellows has 55 games left to get this thing right. I’d like to see him hit over a half a point per game the rest of the way, at minimum. Ideally, a .6 point per game pace would be solid (that’s a pace of 49 points in a full NHL season).
If at this time next year, Bellows is still putting up minimal points and struggling at the AHL level it’d be time to update him to the “b word”. While I pulled the trigger and called Michael Dal Colle a bust in 2017 (at age 21) the context is a little different.
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He was a top-five pick so his timeline is moved up a little bit more than someone who was taken 19th overall. Bellows gets another year, but the concerns are certainly growing.