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New York Islanders Devon Toews Going to AHL Would be Confusing

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20: Devon Toews #25 of the New York Islanders skates against the New Jersey Devils during a preseason game at the Barclays Center on September 20, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 20: Devon Toews #25 of the New York Islanders skates against the New Jersey Devils during a preseason game at the Barclays Center on September 20, 2018 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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New York Islanders management looks set to keep Devon Toews in the AHL for the season, yet again. Confusing many an Islanders fans.

Former New York Islanders fourth-round pick in 2014 Devon Toews seems to be slated for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the AHL yet again this season. After a season-and-a-half spent impressing Islanders fans in the lower league, we all thought 2018-19 would be his year.

But comments from Islanders coach Barry Trotz seem to indicate otherwise. It seems like the 24-year-old defensemen will be best served getting playing time in the AHL in 2018-19 and not in the NHL.

At its face, that’s not a terrible statement. There’s nothing wrong with a player getting more playing time by going to the lower league. Except when you think about what that means exactly. Why can’t Devon Toews get playing time in the NHL?

Fully Loaded

The Islanders defense is already full with Nick Leddy, Johnny Boychuk, Ryan Pulock, Adam Pelech, Scott Mayfield, Thomas Hickey, and now Luca Sbisa. Adding Devon Toews would make it eight and that doesn’t seem to be in the cards for the Isles.

Again, that makes sense. Would Devon Toews be better suited being the number one defender in Bridgeport or the number eight guy on the Island? The answer is obviously being that number one guy.

But why does he have to be the number eight defenseman for the Islanders?

In terms of their weakness on the blue line the Islanders were slow and couldn’t get the puck out of their own zone last season, and they have a lack of good lefties on the team.

After Nick Leddy, the quality on the left drops down significantly. Thomas Hickey is probably the Islanders second best lefty.

Imagine an Islanders top four of:
Nick Leddy-Ryan Pulock
Devon Toews-Johnny Boychuk

That’s a top four with serious speed, strength, and two cannons on the right side.

And for reasons unknown to us, the New York Islanders decided to add Luca Sbisa to their defense. They like Sbisa so much that the Islanders have even tried playing Nick Leddy on the right next to Sbisa,

Clearly, there’s something they didn’t like, or that Devon Toews still needs time to develop his game. That two year $1.4 million contract extension the New York Islanders and Toews signed in the summer should have been the dead giveaway of that.

Much like Kieffer Bellows and Josh Ho-Sang, it isn’t the worst thing that Devon Toews is going to the AHL. He’s just a call-up away from the NHL. If he continues to do what we believe he can do he’ll be here soon.

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But starting the season in the AHL seems like it runs against what the Islanders can use on the blue line to be successful in 2018-19. The New York Islanders were the worst defensive team last year and yet one of their seemingly better defenders is in the AHL.

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