Selected 19 overall in the 2016 draft by the New York Islanders, Kieffer Bellows should be close to the NHL by now. Instead, he’s being scratched in the AHL to try and reboot his season.
Picked 19th overall by the New York Islanders in the 2016 NHL draft, Kieffer Bellows was going to be a promising asset in a few years. In his draft year, the son of former NHL’er Brian Bellows looked like he was going to follow in his father’s footsteps and play in the NHL.
Bellows senior played in 1188 NHL games scoring 485 goals and 1022 points. It was always going to be difficult to follow that performance for Kieffer. With a promising draft year with 16 goals and 32 points in 23 games for the US U18 National team, he was starting on the right foot.
Following the draft, he would play an OK season with Boston University in 2016-17 before jetting to the WHL in 2017-18, where alongside
, Bellows would dominate with 41 goals and 74 points in 56 games.
After that one season in the WHL, Bellow would turn pro and suit up for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL. And things haven’t gone as well since.
In his first AHL season, Bellows scored 12 goals and 19 points in 73 games. Now, in 2019-20, Bellows isn’t faring much better with a goal and three points in 19 games. Putting him on pace for 12 points over a full 76 game AHL season.
"“It was honestly just a decision where we feel it was a chance for him to reboot,” coach Brent Thompson said. “He’ll be back in there. He’s going to be playing and hopefully starting to turn the page the other way.”"
Hopefully, it works. We’re now three years from when the Islanders selected Bellows in the first round and at the rate he’s going he’s not anywhere close to making the NHL.
We’ve already seen the Islanders reward some of their top AHL players with NHL playing time. Cole Bardreau got nine games at the start of the year. Eleventh overall pick in 2018 Oliver Wahlstrom also got a nine-game call-up. And Otto Koivula, a fourth-round pick from the 2016 draft, has already played four NHL games.
So the opportunity is there if the performances are there.
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There’s still a lot of the season left for Bellows to turn things around. The opportunity is there for Bellows to start putting in performances. Hopefully, being forced to sit out a few games can get Bellows going.