Devon Toews got his first NHL action last night in the New York Islanders 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars. He was impressive in his first career game.
For parts of two years now, fans have been clamoring for the New York Islanders to give Devon Toews a chance. Isles fans got their wish last night when Toews entered the lineup for the first time in his career.
Unlike, Josh Ho-Sang and Michael Dal Colle, Barry Trotz seemed to have faith in the 24-year-old rookie defenseman. Devon Toews received just over 18 minutes of ice time last night which was significantly more than his defense partner Luca Sbisa.
Another surprise was Toews getting power play so early on. For forwards like Josh Ho-Sang, Anthony Beauvillier, and even Mathew Barzal they had to earn power play time. At points this year Barzal was getting a few seconds a night on the man advantage.
In his first game in the league, Toews had 1:49 of power play time which was tied for second on the team for defensemen with Ryan Pulock.
Watching Toews for the first time outside of a highlight package was a real treat for me. He truly is a very smooth skater and looks extremely poised, which was Barry Trotz’s main takeaway.
Here’s what his coach had to say on his NHL debut:
"“He was not intimidated if he was out there against top guys or anything. That shows me he has a lot of confidence in his ability. He was one of our better ones today.”"
I know it’s only one game but I’m pretty sold on him being an NHL caliber d-man. When Johnny Boychuk and Thomas Hickey get healthy, Devon Toews should stay here. He’s better than both Adam Pelech and Luca Sbisa even though they’re both veterans at this point.
My three pairs going forward would be Hickey – Pulock, Leddy – Boychuk, and Toews – Mayfield. That would leave Adam Pelech as the seventh d-man, a better role for him, and Luca Sbisa could be waived.
I’m much more confident in those pairs than I am with Sbisa or Pelech on the ice. Devon Toews couldn’t have been better in his debut and it’s great that Barry already trusts him.