Islanders: All signs point to Kieffer Bellows holding last taxi squad spot
Kieffer Bellows is certainly going to make the New York Islanders taxi squad for Toronto.
The New York Islanders are on their way to Toronto to begin their quest for the Stanley Cup. But as the team heads to Canada, we still aren’t 100 percent sure who’s on the team’s roster.
Speaking to media on Saturday at the conclusion of camp, Islanders GM Lou Lamoriello was predictably coy with reporters when he was pressed on who made the team, saying: “If you watched practice today, you could assume what the roster is”.
According to the Islanders GM, Russian goalie Ilya Sorokin will not count towards the 31 player limit for Toronto. With only 30 players spotted on the ice for the final day of camp, there is speculation who will be the 31st player to join the team in Toronto.
Not present on the ice were forwards Kieffer Bellows and Oliver Wahlstrom, defenseman Grant Hutton, and goalie Jakub Skarek. All signs point to Kieffer Bellows being that 31st player on the plane for Toronto.
Bellows is no.31
The Islanders will already be carrying ten defensemen to Toronto based on who was seen on the final day of training camp:
We know the following players made the cut: Adam Pelech, Ryan Pulock, Devon Toews, Scott Mayfield, Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk, Andy Greene, Noah Dobson, Thomas Hickey, and Sebastian Aho.
We already know who will fill the three defensive pairings while Greene-Dobson will be the next set on the depth chart. With five pairs of defensemen, it would stand to reason that Grant Hutton would be the odd man out on the blue line.
In the crease the Islanders will have effectively four goalies make the trip with Varlamov, Greiss, Christopher Gibson, and Ilya Sorokin. A fifth goalie would be too much and would clog up the net during practice.
In terms of the forwards, we found out today via Instagram that Oliver Wahlstrom was not on Long Island but was in fact at a ranch in Colorado.
Which means Kieffer Bellows is likely going to be that 31st player to make the trip to Toronto.
Bellows, a first-round pick from 2016, is a great skill player to bring along for the trip if the Islanders need him. His ceiling is higher than just about every other replacement level player that the Islanders are bringing along for the trip as the 13th forward.
The NHL should release the roster lists tonight, so we’ll know for sure then. But it would be surprising if Bellows doesn’t make the cut.