Islanders Kieffer Bellows Was A Hit Machine In 2021 Debut
By Matt O'Leary
Kieffer Bellows suited up for the Islanders last night and he led the team in hits with eight for Barry Trotz’s squad.
Last night we were treated to Kieffer Bellows in the lineup for the New York Islanders. The former 2016 19th overall pick played the ninth game of his NHL career and his first of hopefully many in 2021.
Bellows was put on the third line with JG Pageau and Ross Johnston and got 10:25 of ice time. It’s on-brand for what the youngsters usually get but he made his impact felt in those 10 minutes.
He had the most hits for any Islander last night with eight. For context, Cal Clutterbuck was the next closest at four and the big boppers in Matt Martin and Ross Johnston combined for three hits.
This was a surprise for me. When looking at Kieffer Bellows’ games last year in the NHL he had just 12 hits in eight games which is an average of 1.5 per game and he never had more than five in a single game.
While I don’t think he sustains an eight-hit pace every night, I do think the added physicality to his game will help him stick around. Kieffer Bellows isn’t huge, six-foot-one 199 pounds, but he does have some size to him.
If he can provide depth scoring on that line, likely after Ross Johnston returns to being a healthy scratch, then I think he’s in good shape to stick around. In a perfect world, he and Oliver Wahlstrom get the nod with Pageau.
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At a minimum, Bellows’ played earned him a spot in the lineup for Saturday’s contest against the Rangers. With the Islanders’ success last night, I’d be surprised if Barry Trotz made any changes for tomorrow.