2016 NHL Draft Radar: Kieffer Bellows

Other than having a name that sounds like it should be reserved for a superhero, Kieffer Bellows is actually a pretty darn good hockey player. Playing on the U.S Developmental National Team with highly touted players like Clayton Keller may have moved his stock down a bit but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a great player in his own right. Where does Bellows fit in this year’s draft?

Bellows is the tenth ranked North American skater according to NHL CS rankings.

The Stats

Bellows set a USHL record when he scored 33 goals as a 16 year old. It doesn’t matter where he plays or when he plays, he always manages to score goals. He is also born in June with a 98 birth year, he has always faced older competition and been up to the task. Not terribly big by any means, but always seems to bully players off the puck. Having scored above a point per game this past year wherever he played, he should hear his name called fairly early in the first round.

Eye Test

Scouts love what Bellows brings to the table, including Steve Kournianos of The Draft Analyst:

“Bellows is a well-built goal scorer with a low center of gravity who can play a punishing, heavy yet cerebral game. He’s a good skater with tremendous balance and moves well laterally. And while he used play center for Edina’s powerhouse high school program, Bellows is most certainly better suited as a shooter from the flank. He’s built like a Mack truck and plays with fire, using tremendous athleticism and work ethic to maintain his compete level, even during extended shifts. He’s extremely difficult to move off the puck, and he’s proven to be a load to handle for some of the NCAA’s bigger defensemen. Bellows is a hard, accurate passer, but can also feather a pass off the rush or lead his teammates with timing and precision.

Bellows’ approach towards every shift is to keep himself involved at all times in order to acquire the puck, using his physical gifts and wide frame to protect it as he maneuvers towards the net. Take our word for it – if a defender is nervous going back for the puck, Bellows will sniff it out and exploit that fear. He plays an aggressive, sometimes stubborn game, often too much for his own good. Getting whistled for bad penalties is a habit he’s had since high school, and fixing that should be a training objective when he plays for Boston University next season. When he keeps his emotions in check, however, he can be an unstoppable force.”

Aynsley Scott of Dobber Prospects agrees that Bellows is a force to be reckoned with:

“Kieffer Bellows plays a game that is getting harder to find in the NHL and that’s as a true power forward with grit and scoring. Though not overly tall, Bellows makes up for his average height with a thick body, a strong center of gravity, and exceptional athleticism to be a punishing force along the wall and in front of the opposition’s net. Blessed with a hard accurate wrist shot, solid passing, and good on-ice vision, Bellows isn’t simply a garbage goal scorer either as he can give and go with the best of them. Though he doesn’t have elite level speed, Bellows skating gets him where he needs to be and he is a menace on the fore check that has defenders looking over their shoulder.”

Does he fit in with the Red Wings?

Not entirely fleet of foot, Bellows is a traditional power forward in the sense that he does all of the traditional hockey tenants well like checking and grinding plays out but still scores at a good clip. He strikes me as a player that would fit well on a gritty team. Is that what the Wings want to be? Their young prospects are more speed oriented, yet the NHL team is filled with “heavier” type of players. What type of team are they trying to build? It seems like they want to move into the 21st century with the rest of the NHL, so Bellows doesn’t seem to be their pick.

Player Oddity

He may be king of the corny tweet.