The New York Islanders have recalled forward Kieffer Bellows from their AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Bellows is a former first-round pick, 19th overall for the Isles in the 2016 NHL draft. His prospect profile reads that Bellows is a skilled power forward who can dominate games and fill the net often. In 2017, Bellows broke Jeremy Roenick’s previous record of eight goals for Team USA in 1991, scoring nine goals in seven games in 2017.
“He deserves the opportunity with his consistency,” g.m. Lou Lamoriello said this morning. “He’s one of our ‘A’ prospects.”
This has been a long time coming for Bellows, who has been on an absolute tear this season. Back in November, Bellows was a healthy scratch and was showing a lot of inconsistency in his game, having only scored one goal and three points in 19 games. Made a healthy scratch, Bellows finally got the wake-up call he needed and hasn’t looked back since.
The 21-year-old went on a scoring frenzy after that sitting and was later named the CCM/AHL Player of the Month for December. In 11 games that month, Bellows scored 10 goals, including his first professional hat trick. If that wasn’t impressive enough, it should be noted that eight of those ten goals either tied the game or gave the Sound Tigers the lead.
Bellows now leads the Sound Tigers with 16 goals, 24 points in 45 games played. With Tom Kuhnhackl having seemingly having his worst game of the year this past Saturday against the Vancouver Canucks, it’s likely Bellows will slide into the third line with Derick Brassard and Michael Dal Colle. Bellows could also receive some power play time if head coach Barry Trotz believes he could help fill the net a little more often than the Islanders might be used to.
Oliver Wahlstrom ➡️ Kieffer Bellows 🚨🥅🚨 pic.twitter.com/wSTDlNP7kt
— Bridgeport Sound Tigers (@TheSoundTigers) February 1, 2020
This recall could be the big break for Bellows, one he’s always dreamed of. The hard work has seemingly paid off in the minors and it’s time to see if the scoring touch can translate to the NHL. It’s also interesting to note that the NHL trade deadline just three weeks from today. Therefore, Lamoriello could be showcasing the power forward in anticipation of a trade as The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun pointed out.
For the time being, Bellow’s call up might have finally answered Islander fans’ prayers for some infusion of life into the offense. Now it’s on him to prove it.