Just last week, Islanders coach Barry Trotz showed praise for Kieffer Bellows. When Josh Bailey was out due to injury, Trotz turned to Bellows and said that he probably is ready to transfer to a full-time role.
Well, Trotz has been proven right so far with that statement. Bellows has three points in four games since returning to the lineup and he got the nod over Josh Bailey last night.
For the first time since 2015, Josh Bailey was a healthy scratch for New York. It's rare to see Barry Trotz show love for a youngster like that over a veteran but with how he's been playing, Trotz was left with no choice.
Last night once again, Bellows picked up an assist on the Brock Nelson goal to get the Islanders on the board.
We've also seen Kieffer Bellows' ice time go up over this span as he's played 14:53, 12:30, 13:46, and 15:22 over the four game stretch. Now on the season, Bellows has 12 points (3 goals, 9 assists) in 24 games.
Paced out over a full 82 game season that's a 41 point (10 goal, 31 assist) season. I'd imagine the goal scoring numbers are eventually going to go up for him but at age 23, Bellows has finally developed into a nice NHL forward.
The Islanders need an influx of youth, that's no surprise here in the slightest, and if they have Bellows going forward in their middle six that's a great sign.
He's been physical averaging 2.3 hits and finally has come around playing the Barry Trotz style of hockey that he's looking for. At 7.3 percent, Bellows' shooting percentage is low but don't expect that to last forever.
He has 41 shots on goal in 24 games, a welcomed addition to the Islanders pass-first mentality. I look forward to seeing how Bellows does the rest of the way and getting a chance to see what his ceiling is.