For now, the New York Islanders have the ability to get Kieffer Bellows some ice time with Josh Bailey out on a day-to-day basis with an upper-body injury. So until Bailey comes back, Bellows will have a spot on the team.
But, when Bailey comes back Bellows likely goes back to the scratchpad. That can't happen. Bellows is showing that he's ready for a full-time NHL role. Something that head coach Barry Trotz has indicated himself just before the 4-1 win over the Bruins.
So what can be done to give Bellows that full-time role when Bailey inevitably returns?
New York Islanders need to make room for Kieffer Bellows
Make a trade. A winger should be moved to make room for Bellows. Thankfully, the Islanders are in a spot where, as they approach the trade deadline, they will sell pieces of the team. That's how they make room for Kieffer Bellows.
With a point against the Bruins - a primary assist on Mathew Barzal's dagger goal - was Bellows's tenth on the season. That's 0.476 points per game, a pace that would see him put up 39 points in a full season.
That's a great return for a young player. But, as with everything, Bellows's impact goes beyond just points. As Barry Trotz spoke in his post-game comments following the win against the Bruins, Kieffer's detail, wall play, and just general commitment in all three zones were why he was so impactful in that win. (Go to the 3:00 minute mark of the presser.)
Someone like Cal Clutterbuck or Zach Parise, both unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, will be moved by the trade deadline to a contender. Moving at least one of those players will open a spot for Bellows to stay in the lineup full time.
Obviously, Lou Lamoriello won't be rushed into a move. If you know anything about Lou it's that if he has time he'll take it. But Bellows is ready now and a spot has to be opened up for him.