Earlier today, the NY Islanders waived former first-round pick, Kieffer Bellows with the purpose of assigning him to the AHL Bridgeport Islanders.
The Edina, Minnesota native was selected 19th overall by the Islanders in the 2016 NHL Entry draft. Coming into his draft year, Bellows scored 50 goals and 81 points for the US National U18 team in 62 games. Bellows followed that performance with a 41-goal season in the WHL playing for the Portland Winterhawks in the 2017-18 season. The Islanders believed themselves to have drafted a goal-scorer who could contribute in the top-six.
Playing for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the 2019-20 season, Bellows totaled 22 goals in 52 games and appeared to be one of the more promising prospects in the Islanders pipeline. That was until later that year in October of 2020, Bellows was suspended for violating the league’s performance enhancing substances rules. True to Lou Lamoriello’s nature, we didn’t hear about the disciplinary action until after it was already enforced. The league later released a statement that “all applicable discipline has been issued and satisfied.”
Bellows returned to the Islanders organization following suspension and has floated between the AHL and NHL since. His best season came in the 2021-22 season when the Islanders dealt with a plethora of COVID cases in the locker room and needed bodies to ice a team. Bellows recorded six goals and 19 points in 45 games that season.
Bellows has 67 games of NHL experience under his belt. The former first-round pick at just 24 years of age signed a one-year, $1.2 million contract this summer and could be an intriguing claim off waivers by a team willing to give him a chance on an expiring deal. Teams will have until 2 PM on Thursday to submit a waiver claim for the forward. If unclaimed, he’ll return to Bridgeport for the first time since the 2019-20 season.