As Islanders’ training camp approaches, GM Lou Lamoriello is slowly unfurling the cards he typically keeps so close to his chest — though unconventionally. Isles fans were surprised when Lamoriello’s newest “officially unofficial” re-signings were released through a barrage of videos and photos circulating social media, featuring Michael Dal Colle, Kieffer Bellows, and Cory Schneider attending a New York Jets game along with a good portion of the Islanders roster earlier today.
In Lou Lamoriello speak: they’re back.
Despite the Islanders not extending a qualifying offer to Dal Colle earlier in the offseason, it seems the winger is back in the system. With four points in 26 games played in the 2020-21 season, the 25-year-old has never found the scoring touch he had in juniors. However, he remains a dependable bottom-six presence who never fails to work hard. What this sequence of events hints at, is that Dal Colle was likely signed to a deal cheaper than his qualifying offer — likely two-way.
Fans should be content to have this depth signing in the Islanders’ back pocket.
In contrast, Kieffer Bellows was one of the restricted free agents who received a qualifying offer this summer, though any signing to follow had not officially been released.
Bellows had three points (all goals) in fourteen games in the 2020-21 season, but only had a limited time to showcase his skills following captain Anders Lee’s injury before being sent back down to the taxi squad. Though Bellows’ name has been thrown around in trade rumors, the winger still has untapped potential to be a legitimate power forward in the league with solid puck-handling and forechecking but skating that could use some improvement.
Kieffer Bellows (@BellowsKieffer) picked up right where he left off yesterday! pic.twitter.com/ETPuX9Qq6j
— NHL (@NHL) March 14, 2021
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The question marks surrounding the Islanders’ third goaltender have been cleared up with Cory Schneider making an appearance in the team’s suite at MetLife Stadium today. The last puzzle piece of the Islanders’ depth in net, Schneider is a veteran goalie who did not play any NHL games in 2020-21, and posted a .843 SV% in two AHL games for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Though the tandem of Semyon Varlamov and Ilya Sorokin seldom leaves any room on the NHL level for Schneider, he fulfills the goalie roster requirement and solidifies even more veteran presence in the organization.
With training camp around the corner on September 23, Islanders fans have a clearer picture of what they can expect from the NHL and AHL rosters. Now, we wait for the official announcement and contract details — and the beginning of the hockey season.
Follow Nicole on Twitter at @nicolefshirman