Editorials

Islanders Should Keep Bellows – Pageau – Wahlstrom Line

By Matt O'Leary
Oliver Wahlstrom #26 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Oliver Wahlstrom #26 of the New York Islanders (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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The New York Islanders skated both of their young guns, Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows with JG Pageau. They should run this line in 2021.

Today during the Islanders blue and white scrimmage, we saw JG Pageau center a line with Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows as his two wingers. I can’t express enough how much I want to see this in the regular season.

Both Bellows and Wahlstrom are former first-round picks who have a combined 17 games in the NHL. Eventually, both of these guys should be NHL players, and who better to learn the game from than JG Pageau.

Pageau is the perfect third-line center, someone who can provide offensively and is extremely responsible defensively. Both Bellows and Wahlstrom have struggled defensively at times but are known for their offensive skillset which would provide a balance to the line.

Wahlstrom’s shot in particular can be elite at the next level and could be an immediate upgrade over what the Isles have run out there recently. Michael Dal Colle, Leo Komarov, and even Derrick Brassard give you a limited ceiling, that much is a given.

With these two on the wing, the Isles offensive upside would be significantly higher. In Wahlstrom’s first full season in the AHL last year, he had 22 points (10 goals, 12 assists) in 45 games.

As for Bellows, he bounced back in the AHL scoring 22 goals in 52 games last season. He added another two goals in his eight NHL games for the Islanders last year.

The last time the Isles had a “kid line” was back in 2014-2015 when Anders Lee, Brock Nelson, and Ryan Strome played together and it was solid depth for the Islanders. We could see a version of that with both Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows in the lineup on a regular basis with a vet in Pageau centering them.

Lee – Barzal – Eberle

Beauvillier – Nelson – Bailey

Bellows – Pageau – Wahlstrom

Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck

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Those would be four lines that I would be comfortable rolling out on a nightly basis. The fact that we saw this in the scrimmage today is a good sign, and hopefully, we see it during the regular season as well.

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