1,946 days. That’s how long it’s been since Kieffer Bellows was drafted by the New York Islanders in the first round of the 2016 Entry Level Draft. Of players selected in the top-20 of that draft class, he has the second-fewest NHL games under his belt.
He has 24 games and six points at the NHL level over the past three years and he hasn’t shown any signs of furthering development. In fact, he looks worse this year than he ever has before as it appears like he’s skating with two cement blocks strapped to his feet.
It reached its breaking point last night in Columbus. I don’t know why it took me that long to hold off, I guess it’s because I really did like him as a prospect for a very long time, but I was finally ready to call the time of death. As of October 21, 2021, Kieffer Bellows is a bust.
Yes, that’s a harsh word, I don’t like to throw it around very often but when you’re a top-20 pick and lock lost at the NHL level at age 23 I don’t know what else to possibly say.
I had a quicker hook with Michael Dal Colle, who to be fair was a top-five pick, but after a career-low of 5:58 of ice time, it all but confirmed to me that it’s over and that his days with the Islanders are numbered.
The two extra forwards right now are Bellows and Johnston, the Islanders can’t survive with them as their extras for any longer. Ross Johnston played one game and got 5:50 and was immediately replaced by Leo Komarov the next night.
At this point, Leo, Richard Panik, or Michael Dal Colle would be a more reliable option than either of the two extra forwards. If Barry Trotz doesn’t trust a 23-year-old Kieffer Bellows to give him real NHL ice time, then what’s the point?
If he’s waived and someone claims him, so be it. The trade value isn’t there anymore and it’s just so abundantly clear that it’s not going to work here. Can it work elsewhere? Possibly, but on a win-now team, they can’t afford to waste a roster spot on a 23-year-old who has only taken steps back.
Want your voice heard? Join the Eyes On Isles team!
It feels like a lifetime ago when we were talking about a 2017 season that saw him put up 41 goals at the WHL level.