The Maple Leafs have a massive decision to make regarding newly acquired forward

Pat Quinn
December 20, 2023  (8:47)

Photo credit: Chris Young / THE CANADIAN PRESS

Kieffer Bellows has been a stand out player this season with the Toronto Marlies, the Toronto Maple Leafs' AHL affiliate. He has been one of the Marlies' top players this season, as he is tied for second in goal scoring despite playing in 16 games.

Discussions on Bellows is on the Toronto Radar

Nick Gosse and Darius Domingues of Leafs Digest break down why Toronto needs to decide on what to do with Bellows sooner than later:
"The Leafs seem to have a pretty big decision to make and this is not a decision that I would expect to be as hard as it might be going forward for the Maple Leafs and the player we're talking about is Kieffer Bellows, and [December 17] he scored another goal. He currently has eight goals and seven assists in 16 games while on a PTO with the Marlies and people ... are saying he's earned himself a permanent contract"

Bellows signed an AHL PTO on October 28, but has not been signed to a full-time contract in either the AHL or NHL since. This can open the door to other teams coming in to add Bellows if the Leafs leave him on a PTO. The Leafs do have 47 out of 50 contracts, so they do have contract room, but cap space is always an issue.
"He's playing very well and he has NHL experience. One guy I would compare him to that the Leafs have kind of you know reconstructed as well is Joseph Blandisi and they're very similar. Joseph Blandisi looked good in the preseason as well and he can be called up, but Bellows can't. Bellows has more NHL experience than Blandisi so I think you'd like to get him signed and keep him around, because it seems like he might be figuring it out finally at the AHL level. With the Leafs [having] so many injuries and illnesses, especially this past week, I don't think you'd mind bringing up a guy like that. He could chip in and help. [...] Looking at his stats you mentioned it over 90 NHL games the majority of those with the Islanders, last season for the Phantoms he only put up 10 points in 12 games, [and] this season in 16 games he already has eight goals. He's found his goal stroke [and] he's finding a way to put [the puck] in the net. Is this is his breakout? I can't say yet because it's only been 16 games, but ... he's a 19th overall pick, only 25 years old. So if any of you out there thought he was old, he's not old yet. He's still fairly young and it is good that the Leafs do have him and I do suspect they do offer him a contract here soon."

Why Bellows could be a good fit on the Leafs roster

Like the video states, bellows was a former first round selection, in 2016, and has over 90 games on NHL experience. The Islanders had no room for him so they waived him. The flyers claimed him, played him once, then waived him where he remained the rest of the season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Bellows is a power forward and may finally be figuring out his game to be a productive player. The Leafs could use a big body that forechecks well, and can score goals, in the bottom six. It will be up to Toronto management whether they sign Bellows or not, but if they leave him on a PTO he may get an offer from another team.
As Watched on Leafs Digest - The Leafs have a MASSIVE decision to make...
The Maple Leafs have a massive decision to make regarding newly acquired forward

Will the Maple Leafs sign Kieffer Bellows or will another NHL scoop him up?

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