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Islanders should keep new third line together

February 11, 2020, 4:36 PM ET [847 Comments]
Ben Shelley
New York Islanders Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
With Kieffer Bellows now up with the New York Islanders, he gives the team more options within their top-nine. Most importantly, the third line has the ability to produce some offense with Bellows there.

Ross Johnston was in for Bellows last night, which I’d say wasn’t the best way to go. I think it’s a fair idea to put Johnston in the lineup to counter Washington’s grit, but take out Leo Komarov to make that happen and keep the third line together for the time being. The trio of Bellows-Brassard-Dal Colle are expected to be back together tonight and the fact is, they should stay for at least little while.

Bellows was solid in his first few games with the Islanders and didn’t look out of place. He was certainly a step up from the majority of the bottom-six. While I didn’t think he’d be sticking with the Islanders right away, keeping him up as a healthy scratch rather than just reassigning him to Bridgeport at least seems like a sign that he’ll be staying with the Islanders for a while.

Michael Dal Colle has actually posted some better numbers as well lately. Despite only having 10 points in 40 games to show for this season, six of those have come within the last 11 games. In 2020, he’s averaged 1.42 shots per game, which isn’t awesome by any means but it’s an improvement from his 0.77 shots per game in his first 28 games of the season from 2019. He's not perfect but he's the best option the Islanders have among their bottom-six wingers and is still young enough to potentially continue to develop.

Derick Brassard, though streaky, has put together a solid stretch of games as well. Generally, he hasn’t been able to create much offense on his own this year but has been much better when he has top-six forwards to work with. Despite this, there seemed to be some chemistry with Bellows in their time together and it’s a pairing that should be further explored.

The Islanders may have a third line in front of them that can actually produce. Who knows, maybe this was just a temporary spark based on Bellows’ call-up but it’s certainly worth it to keep them together and let some chemistry develop over an extended stretch.

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So far, so good for Kieffer Bellows

Islanders call up Kieffer Bellows
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