Despite being just 22-years-old, Kieffer Bellows is already being labelled a bust by many. The 22-year-old was drafted 19th overall by the New York Islanders at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft and really made a name for himself two years later when he had a 41 goal, 74-point season in the WHL for the Portland Winterhawks. On top of that, he also played for Team USA at the World Juniors that year, his second time attending the event, and had a tournament leading nine goals and 10 points in seven games played.
Unfortunately, things have gone downhill ever since for Bellows. His first season as a pro in Bridgeport, which came in 2018-19, was an outright disaster as he had just 19 points in 73 games. While he was better the following season, his numbers were still fairly disappointing as he managed 22 goals and 31 points in 52 games. Despite those numbers not being great, he was able to earn his first ever NHL call-up last season, appearing in eight games with the Islanders where he was able to score two goals and one assist. He has started the 2020-21 season in the NHL, but is at risk of being sent to the AHL soon given the fact he has not been able to get on the scoresheet yet. Though he is still relatively young at 22, he will need to have a better season than the previous two if he wants to remain a top prospect for the Isles.
3. Simon Holmstrom
Though it’s still very early, the Islanders may have a First-Round steal on their hands in Simon Holmstrom, who they selected 23rd overall in 2019. The Swedish born forward has had an interesting career path to this point, as he played his 2019-20 season in the AHL as an 18-year-old. While there were some ups and downs throughout the year, he didn’t look out of place and was able to record 15 points in 46 contests.
The now 19-year-old is just three games into his second season with Bridgeport, and has recorded one assist so far. The hope is that he can build off of last year’s totals and put up better numbers, but it is important to remember how young he still is. Most do not begin playing in the AHL until they are at least 20-years-old. Though he is still a ways away, Islanders management has to be excited with Simon Holmstrom’s progression thus far.