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Islanders: What to Expect From Kieffer Bellows

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20: Kieffer Bellows #20 of the New York Islanders celebrates his powerplay goal at 19:19 of the first period against the New Jersey Devils during a preseason game at the Barclays Center on September 20, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20: Kieffer Bellows #20 of the New York Islanders celebrates his powerplay goal at 19:19 of the first period against the New Jersey Devils during a preseason game at the Barclays Center on September 20, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New York Islanders finally called up 21-year-old, left wing prospect, Kieffer Bellows, on Monday. Let’s take a look at what to expect from the Minnesota native.

The New York Islanders have several big-name prospects playing down with their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. Finally, after weeks of fans asking for GM Lou Lamoriello to do something, he finally did.

After a slow start to his second professional hockey season with the Sound Tigers, Kieffer Bellows caught fire after being a healthy scratch – scoring 15 goals in his last 26 games, including his first hat-trick.

Since scoring his hat-trick in late December, Bellows has cooled down. However, I’m sure this call up to the New York Islanders will light a fire under him once again.

Overview of Kieffer Bellows

Kieffer Bellows is known for his goal-scoring ability. He’s a power forward with a great release, so he’s not afraid to play on the boards and win those battles to create his own opportunities.

A current New York Islanders player I would compare Bellows to is Brock Nelson. Both are power forwards that use their strength to get the puck during board battles and create opportunities. However, Bellows doesn’t have the size of Nelson, but he does have a better shot.

Through 81 games in the USHL, Bellows scored 49 goals and 84 points. That’s 0.6 goals per game and 1.04 points per game. However, through his 34 games with Boston University, Bellows struggled only scoring seven goals and 14 points.

Bellows would leave BU and play in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks, where he would dominate the competition. In 56 games, Bellows scored 41 goals and 74 points. That’s 0.73 goals a game and 1.32 points a game.

In his first season with Bridgeport, Bellows struggled. In 73 games, Bellows only managed 12 goals and 19 points. However, Bellows has seemed to regain his scoring touch in his second AHL season as he’s already surpassed all his offensive totals from last season in just 45 games.

What to Expect

Seeing how New York Islanders head coach Barry Trotz has handled the other New York Islanders rookies of Oliver Wahlstrom and Otto Koivula, my guess is that Bellows won’t be in the lineup very often and when he is, won’t be on the ice as much as we would like.

Although Bellows is quite good offensively, he may be a burden defensively. Bridgeport made the AHL playoffs last year, yet Bellows’ +/- was a -20. In a little more than half the season, Bellows has already matched that this year.

I expect Bellows to not play very often, probably less than ten minutes of ice time when he’s in the lineup – just like Wahlstrom and Koivula. But when he does play he’ll be noticeable offensively.

Hopefully, Trotz doesn’t bury Bellows in the bottom six of the Islanders as he did with Wahlstrom and Koivula. I want Bellows on a line where he can get a decent look and good scoring opportunities, but I just don’t see that happening with how Trotz has managed the called up prospects.

If Bellows can break into the lineup for 10 games and get into a groove where he’s playing in consecutive games, I can see him scoring three to four goals and adding a couple of assists to go with them.

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If Bellows can manage to convince Trotz to make him a regular where he’s playing in the top six and receiving regular minutes, he can be a true danger and the goal scorer the New York Islanders have been looking for.

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