The New York Islanders surprisingly didn’t bring 31 players to Toronto. Here’s a likely reason as to why.
Most of us were surprised when Kieffer Bellows was not included in the New York Islanders 31 man roster going to Toronto. Right as the Islanders released their 30 man roster I was publishing this piece on how all signs pointed to Kieffer Bellows being that 31st person going to Toronto.
Kieffer Bellows wasn’t that 31st man on the roster, in fact, no one was. The Islanders surprised us all and named a 30 man roster. They left a spot open.
Why did they do that? Why not bring a skilled player like Kieffer Bellows to Toronto? With Ilya Sorokin taking a non-roster spot they may have needed that space to bring other staff to the bubble.
Lou Lamoriello was adamant that Ilya Sorokin wouldn’t count towards the Islanders 31 player limit, so why keep that space open? Why not bring Bellows to Toronto?
I like this suggestion here:
If Sorokin doesn’t count as part of the 31 player limit the Islanders can bring he certainly counts towards the team’s limit of 52 people. So if the Islanders bring him they’d have to leave someone else at home they would have otherwise brought along for the tournament.
I did a very quick and not at all exhaustive roster of front office staff that could be on the flight to Toronto like management, coaching, equipment staff, trainers, and social media and content staff (plus Sorokin), and that chewed up most of the 22 remaining spots.
So if the Islanders had their minds set on who was going to Toronto they had to make room for them all if Sorokin was coming.
With that being said, both the Minnesota Wild and Montreal Canadiens named 31-player rosters. Both teams are in an identical situation as the Islanders. Both have Russian players – Kiril Kaprizov and Alex Romanov – that are joining their 52-person delegation to the hub city.
With so many vets on the Islanders roster and arguably a single spot up for grabs, it’s not likely that Bellows would have ever hit the ice, but with his skill and potential, it doesn’t seem like a bad idea to bring him.
He may not have made the playoff roster for 2020, but we’ll likely see Kieffer Bellows fight for a roster spot in the 2020-21 NHL season.