Defenseman Noah Dobson and rookie Kieffer Bellows, the Islanders’ youngest players, showed veteran poise in Thursday night’s 4-0 win over the Rangers at Madison Square Garden in the season opener.
Bellows, 22, selected 19th overall in 2016, was elevated off the taxi squad and was credited with a game-high eight hits in 10:25 of ice time. He played on third-line center Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s left wing along with burly Ross Johnston.
Bellows drew a hooking penalty on No. 1 overall pick Alexis Lafreniere at 14:13 of the second period, leading to Anders Lee’s power-play goal.
After being brought along slowly as a rookie, Dobson, 21, selected 12th overall in 2018, is taking on a full-time role with Devon Toews traded and Johnny Boychuk in de facto retirement.
He was used both on the power play — setting up Lee’s goal — and the penalty kill. Dobson also blocked three shots in 20:13. "We drafted Noah where he is and we know what he’s capable of doing," coach Barry Trotz said. "It’s no surprise at all."
Bellows had two goals and an assist in an eight-game stint with the Islanders last season. Dobson had a goal and six assists in 34 games and played in one of the 22 postseason games.
Milestones ahead for Bailey
Josh Bailey became the fifth player in Islanders history to play at least 13 seasons for the team, following goalie Billy Smith (17 seasons), Bryan Trottier (15), Denis Potvin (15) and Bobby Nystrom (14)
It could be a milestone-filled season for Bailey.
"I think there’s certainly a lot of good memories and really, at this point, I’m only focused on trying to create some new ones and better ones," he said. "I think you’re just constantly striving for more."
The right wing entered the season with 322 career assists, one shy of tying Brent Sutter for eighth place on the Islanders’ all-time list and six shy of tying Pat Flatley for seventh. He also could move past John Tonelli (338) and John Tavares (349) to move into the Islanders’ top five in assists.
Bryan Trottier is the team’s all-time leader with 853 assists.
Trottier also is one of the four previous Islanders to play at least 13 seasons with the team. He's the organization’s all-time games played leader with 1,123. Goalie Bill Smith (17 seasons), Denis Potvin (15) and Bobby Nystrom (14) are the other three.
Bailey played in his 866th career game on Thursday as he sits fifth on the Islanders’ all-time list. If he stays healthy during this 56-game season, Bailey is set to pass Clark Gillies (872 games) and Nystrom (900) to move into third place.
Rookie Oliver Wahlstrom was moved to the taxi squad. Leo Komarov and defensemen Thomas Hickey and Sebastian Aho were healthy scratches . . . The Islanders announced their blue helmets will feature a Northwell Health sticker and their white helmets will have a UBS sticker . . . Forward Dmytro Timashov, who has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal, cleared waivers . . . The Islanders finalized a one-year, $700,000 deal with goalie Cory Schneider.