New York Islanders RFA Devon Toews is up for a new deal. What type of contract could we expect the Isles defender to sign for 2020-21?
Devon Toews‘s bridge deal will expire at the end of the 2019-20 season. We know that the New York Islanders will try to re-sign the defenseman. Lou Lamoriello has said the team plans on keeping their three RFAs (Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews).
Thinking about Devon Toews, what type of deal will he sign with the team?
When trying to predict a contract for any type of player the best route is to look for comparables. But the issue with Devon Toews is the lack of comparable players.
Toews has been in the league for two seasons but only has 116 games under his belt. He started his NHL career midway through the 2018-19 season playing 48 games, and with the 2019-20 season cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he only has 68 games played.
In that time he has 46 points which roughly translates to a 0.40 points-per-game pace. Toews isn’t a stay-at-home type of player. He’s an offensive-defenseman who puts up points.
There’s a lot to like about Devon Toews’s game going forward. Even looking at his advanced analytics shows a player that could provide much more than he’s currently providing.
So finding a comparable player to Devon Toews is going to be difficult. If near impossible. Looking at the list of defensemen signed recently yielded a number of results, but few were comparable to what Devon Toews has done.
Again, in terms of comparables I’m looking for a young-ish player (around 24-26 years old), has little NHL playing experience (between 100-200 games played), can put up a decent amount of points (~0.40 PPG), and who has recently signed a contract.
Will Butcher, with the New Jersey Devils, might be the closest fit.
Butcher was 24 years old when he signed, had little NHL playing experience with 159 games played, he scored at a 0.47 PPG rate with 74 points, and signed his three-year deal on July 31, 2019. In terms of comparables, Will Butcher checks all of the boxes.
Butcher’s three-year deal with the Devils carrier a $3.733 million cap hit. I don’t imagine Toews’s deal will go longer than 3-4 years. With Toews having lower production than Butcher at the time of signing, a $3.5 million AAV for him seems just about right.
That’s considering the Islanders will be buying some UFA years. Toews turns 27 on February 21, 2021.
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Devon Toews is arbitration-eligible, but it’s not like he’ll be able to present all of these advanced stats that show his elite-level contributions. The NHL doesn’t allow for third-party analytics to be used in arbitration cases, only NHL official statistics.
So a $3.5 million AAV seems about right for Toews on his next deal.