Kieffer Bellows is an intriguing prospect out of the US National Development Team Program. Despite standing just 6 feet tall, he has one of the most physical, true power-forward games of this draft class. He plays aggressively, takes penalties, and takes the puck to the net.
He also scores goals: 50 in just 62 games for the USNTDP this season. The scouting community is mixed on Bellows’ skating, but he’ll have time to develop, and has committed to Boston University for next season.
Age: 17 (June 10th, 1998)
Birthplace: Edina, USA
Frame: 6’0, 194 lbs
Draft Year Team: US National U18 (USDP)
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From 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.
Kieffer Bellows is a skilled power forward that can dominate games. Possesses high end puckhandling ability as well as a crisp, accurate release on his shot. Proficient forechecker and loves to win puck battles, which stands out as a consistent part of his game. Strong skater that can bull through the opposition or go around them. Drives the net hard and is a decisive finisher. All-in-all, a competitor that punishes the opposition physically, as well as on the scoreboard.
Kieffer Bellows has a really intriguing set of tools for a potential mid-teens pick. He has a deadly shot, good puck skills, and an excellent power forward game. He isn’t massive, but he plays like he is. While he put up a huge statline for the USNTDP this season — 50 goals and 81 points in 62 games — he unfortunately has only 2 pGPS comparables.
For whatever reason, though, there’s a lot of disagreement in the scouting community on Bellows’ skating. The scouts quoted above called his skating “good” and “strong”, but that opinion isn’t universally held.
However, Bellows’ skating has been a consistent issue in his game. He just doesn’t have any sort of explosiveness in his stride. His defensive play isn’t too great either, which may be a product of his skating as opposed to any work ethic issues.
Skating is definitely a concern, then, for any team considering drafting Bellows. His playmaking game could also use some work; he’s guilty of occasionally getting tunnel vision in going hard straight to the net.
Nonetheless, Bellows still has a lot going for him. His playing style and his shot are huge assets, and he has a great hockey sense — especially in judging what defenders are going to do against him.
Bellows has spent some time playing centre over the past two years, but more likely projects to play on the wing in the NHL. His absolute ceiling is as a first-line power forward winger, but if that doesn’t pan out, his skill set will translate very well as a strong middle-six winger with a nose for the net.
Bellows’ goalscoring and physical game — traits NHL teams covet highly — merits his ranking in the top fifteen. It’ll be interesting to see where he goes in June, and how he performs at Boston University next year.