NHL preseason already seems interminable, even more so before actual moves start happening. After a rookie game and four exhibition games (two of them split-squad affairs), the Islanders made their first cuts, sending three players back to their respective junior teams.
Kieffer Bellows (Portland Winterhawks of the WHL), Arnaud Durandeau (Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL) and David Quenneville (Medicine Hat of the WHL) can now take their few weeks of pro experience back to their teammates and billet families.
#Isles Transactions: Bellows (Portland WHL), Durandeau (Halifax QMJHL) & Quenneville (Medicine Hat WHL) were returned to their junior clubs— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) September 22, 2017
Durandeau, a sixth round pick from this year’s draft, will jump right back into the junior swing and be back in the line-up for Halifax tomorrow, far away from my dated Duran Duran jokes. And Medicine Hat will no doubt be thrilled to get small, shifty defenseman Quenneville back. He was having a heckuva season for them before breaking his leg blocking a shot in January.
But only one will leave Brooklyn with some lovely parting gifts. The team announced that they’ve signed the 2016 first rounder to a three-year entry level contract. The forward left Boston University earlier this summer to play for Portland, where he’ll get more ice time.
The Winterhawks look like a formidable team in the WHL this season, and fellow first rounder Cody Glass is looking forward to feeding Bellows the puck as much as he can.
"If he happens to be on my line, I know I'm going to be giving him the puck a lot. We're going to have a really good year together, I think," Glass said. "I know we have a really good shot at making a run at (a championship) this year."
Bellow’s first and only season at BU was pretty lackluster (only seven goals and seven assists in 34 games), but he scored two huge goals in the World Junior Championship gold medal game against Canada. With his team settled for next season and primed for a long playoff run, and with an NHL contract in his back pocket, let’s see if Bellows can blossom into that sniper he’s still projected to become. That’d be cool.
Expect some more cuts after tonight’s game against the Rangers in Bridgeport, per Arthur Staple.
The Islanders may make further cuts after tonight’s game, with only three preseason games remaining and Bridgeport’s training camp opening on Monday. The Isles currently have 49 players in camp, including injured forwards Alan Quine and Shane Prince. It’s likely Doug Weight’s squad will be down to 26 or 27 players by tomorrow or Sunday for the final week of camp.