Bellows to the Top Line
Since making his start in the NHL rookie Kieffer Bellows has been a positive spark to the Islanders lineup. The 2016 first-round pick already has three points in his first five games at the NHL level. But even when he isn’t scoring, he’s giving the Islanders something to work with.
Against the Nashville Predators, Bellows gave the Islanders their best opportunities to score a goal by drawing the only two power plays they’d get on the night.
Bellows, when on the ice, has shown that he belongs at the NHL level. He’s not yet a difference-maker at the NHL level, but in a short cameo so far he’s shown he can impact the roster positively.
So why not try him in a position where he could have a larger impact on proceedings? Why not play him up on the top line with Barzal?
If the goal is to rattle the roster, moving a rookie up to the top line in place of the team captain and former 40-goal scorer would certainly be the move.
And it’s not as if Barry Trotz isn’t capable of such a move. Just a few months ago he placed Ross Johnston on the top line to get the team going. Ross Johnston might not be a rookie, but putting him on the top line proves a point: if you aren’t going to take the opportunity presented to you I’ll give it to someone else.
It’s a bold move, and one I’m not sure Barry Trotz is willing to make. But, if the goal is to ruffle some feathers putting Kieffer Bellows on the top line will have the desired effect.