It’s hard to know what to think about Kieffer Bellows. A 1st round pick in 2016, Bellows scored 74 points in 56 games with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks in 2017-18, before moving to Bridgeport in 2018-19, where he had just 19 points in 73 games.
Bellows bounced back in 2019-20 when he had 31 points in 52 games in Bridgeport before the season was paused. That year, he also made his NHL debut, with 2 goals and 3 points in 8 games for the Islanders.
This past year, Bellows didn’t play at all for Bridgeport, and only played 14 games for the Isles. He only scored 3 goals and no assists, but put up a 54.4% CF% – in a small sample size, of course, but still, that’s pretty good!
The problem with Bellows is that he doesn’t really fit in. Barry Trotz doesn’t seem to trust him enough for regular playing time, especially when the Islanders also have Leo Komarov and Richard Panik ready to fill a LW hole if need be. But sending him back to Bridgeport seems like a waste.
That’s probably why so many projected trades include Bellows as a sweetener. At age 23, he undeniably still has some talent, and there must be teams willing to take a chance that he keeps developing.
But barring several catastrophic injuries, it doesn’t seem like he’ll play much for the Islanders this year. It’s a shame – I liked what I saw from Bellows in his limited NHL time this year. But evidently Barry Trotz didn’t, and it’s his opinion that counts.