By signing defenseman Samuel Girard to a seven-year $35 million deal, the Colorado Avalanche have effectively set the price for New York Islanders defenseman Devon Toews.
Girard is a smooth-skating defenseman, that moves the puck well out of the zone, and can be the quarterback on a power-play unit. Sounds just like Devon Toews, does it not?
Girard still has a year left on his three-year ELC, but GM Joe Sakic didn’t mess around and got him under contract ASAP. The Avalanche signed him to a seven-year $35 million contract. That’s a $5 million AAV for the 21-year-old.
That’s exactly what we should expect Devon Toews to sign for once his bridge deal comes to an end.
First things first, are they actually comparable players? It’s all great that they’re both fit the same type of archetype in terms of style, but what about the substance. Do the numbers show comparable players?
Yeah, they are. In fact, Toews is even better.
Sure, Girard ended the season with 27 points to Devon Toews’s 18 points. But Girard had practically double the number of games played then Toews with a full 82 game season to the 48 that Toews played.
But when you compare certain analytics on a per-60 basis, Devon Toews stands out as the better player after last season.
*Stats from NaturalStatTrick
In just about every important category Devon Toews was a better player than Samuel Girard. Although not by much in some categories. Clearly, Girard and Toews are comparable players in both style and substance.
They’re both offensive-minded players that move the needle forward for their teams in terms of creating possession, getting shots towards the opposition’s net, creating scoring chances, and getting those highly desirable high-danger chances.
Give Devon Toews a full season with that type of impact on the game and watch those production numbers swell.
To be fair to Girard he’s only 21 years old, he’s going to get better. Which is why Joe Sakic and the Avalanche signed him now to a long term deal. In a few years, a $5 million cap hit might be a steal for Girard.
In his first NHL season, Devon Toews showed flashes of brilliance. He quickly cemented himself as one of the New York Islanders top-four defenders. Then he took Nick Leddy’s spot on the Islanders first power-play unit. Again, all in year one. He clearly impressed both Barry Trotz and Lou Lamoriello.
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A deal for Toews won’t likely come until he’s proven that he can repeat what he did in 2018-19. The Islanders and Toews might not negotiate a deal until the season is over. But when he inevitably does, a $5 million sounds about right.