Here’s one out of nowhere (or, I guess, more specifically, out of Boston): Islanders prospect Kieffer Bellows will leave Boston University to join the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL, per a few reports, including The Boston Globe and WEEI.
From a voice closer to home:
Can confirm Kieffer Bellows is leaving BU. Will join Portland in WHL. #Isles— Brian Compton (@BComptonNHL) May 26, 2017
Bellows, the son of former NHLer Brian Bellows, was drafted No. 19 overall last year by the Islanders after he scored 50 goals for the US National Under-18 Team. The phrase “pure goal scorer” was thrown around a lot, but in his freshman year on a stacked BU team, something never quite clicked and Bellows finished with seven goals and seven assists in 34 games for the Terriers.
At the World Junior Tournament, he went six games without a goal before exploding for two in the gold medal game against Canada and helping Team USA win its first title since 2013. Later, BU lost to finalist Minnesota-Duluth in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men’s hockey tournament.
With Charlie McAvoy (Bruins) and Clayton Keller (Coyotes) earmarked for the NHL next season, it seemed Bellows would have more responsibilities as a sophomore. Instead, he’ll play his age 19 season in the Canadian Junior system.
Bellows was drafted by the Winterhawks in the seventh round of the 2013 WHL Bantam Draft, and the club still owns his rights. Transferring to a new school means sitting out a year, per NCAA rules. So, off to Portland it is.
I won’t pretend to know why Bellows is making the move or what it means for his development. We’ll get more information once an official announcement is made by either he or the Islanders. But it’s a situation that bears watching.