Flyers claim a 2016 1st-round winger off of waivers


The Flyers took to waivers Thursday for another forward.

The club claimed winger Kieffer Bellows from the Islanders. Just over a week ago, the Flyers plucked Lukas Sedlak from the Avalanche. Last season, they added Zack MacEwen and Patrick Brown off of waivers during a three-day span in October.

Bellows, who played 68 career games for New York, was a first-round pick of the Islanders in 2016. He went three spots ahead of German Rubtsov, a Russian center the Flyers selected at 22nd overall. Rubtsov was sent to the Panthers in the Claude Giroux trade and is now back playing in his home country.

The 24-year-old Bellows is a power forward type at 6-foot-1, 195 pounds. Back in the summer of 2016, many saw goal-scoring potential with Bellows, who had 50 markers for the U.S. national U-18 team during his draft year.

With the Islanders, Bellows played a career-high 45 games last season. He finished with six goals and 13 assists while playing 11:52 minutes per game.

The Flyers are dealing with various injures up front. They're without Sean Couturier (back), Cam Atkinson (upper body), James van Riemsdyk (broken finger) and Patrick Brown (back).

As a result, the Flyers have played an overall young group at forward. Getting younger was also an offseason objective for the Flyers after the club went 25-46-11 last year.

In the Flyers' second game of this season, eight of their 12 forwards were 25 years old or younger and six of them had under 100 games of NHL experience.

"In the big picture of it all, when you have kids that maybe should be getting the big minutes down there (AHL) and learning, and not just the game, but just learning how to be a pro, and they're here and we have them, it gives us a chance to forecast the organization quicker for the future," Flyers head coach John Tortorella said Thursday during the team's optional morning skate. "When people do — I'm not optimistic that it's going to happen right away — but when people do get healthy, you become a better organization because these guys have played minutes that they didn't expect to play.

"Quite honestly, it gives us a longer look at them — a longer look as far as to see what good stuff we have, but also, maybe there's some mistakes we've made and some guys just aren't going to be part of this. It gives us a longer look to figure all that out.

"Injuries are a part of it. You deal with it and you just keep on plowing ahead, go about your business and make your calls from there."

The Flyers played 11 forwards and seven defensemen Thursday night against the Panthers (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP). Bellows could see his Flyers debut Saturday when the club hosts the Hurricanes (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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