Editorials

Islanders should trade Devon Toews before offer sheet season

New York Islanders defenseman Devon Toews (25) (Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Islanders defenseman Devon Toews (25) (Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports) /
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If the New York Islanders can’t come to an agreement with Devon Toews they should look to trade him rather than potentially lose him to an offer sheet.

Devon Toews has hit the end of the two-year bridge deal he signed with the New York Islanders in 2018. As such the Isles have a tough decision to make with the left-shot defenseman they drafted in the fourth round of the 2014 NHL Draft.

As an RFA, Toews can’t access the unrestricted free agent market just yet. But he can sign an offer sheet as of October 9. With the Islanders in a tough spot with only $8.905 million in actual cap space, they might not have the ability to fend off a top-dollar offer sheet from another team.

If they can’t get Toews signed to a deal with a cap hit below $4 million they should look to move the defenseman in a trade rather than lose him to an offer sheet.

Offer Sheet or Trade

On Sunday, The Athletic’s James Mirtle and Dom Luszczyszyn (subscription required) wrote about what it would take for another team to sign Toews to an offer sheet and have the Islanders take the draft pick compensation rather than match the offer.

They figured a five-year $25 million ($5 million AAV) offer would work to get that done. If the Isles don’t match, an offer sheet with a $5 million AAV would return them a first and third-round pick.

Paying Toews $5 million per year would just simply be too much for the Islanders. On that alone, the Islanders should take the compensatory picks.

But draft picks aren’t the Islanders top priority. It’s why they traded a first, second, and almost a third-round pick for Jean-Gabriel Pageau at the 2020 trade deadline.

Ideally, the Isles and Toews can work out a contract extension. But if they can’t come to an agreement the Islanders should look to trade him before the offer sheet signing window opens on October 9.

By all accounts, Devon Toews has some untapped potential to be a top pair D-man. He’s an excellent puck carrier and chews up a bunch of power-play time for the Islanders. But the Islanders top pair is already locked in with Adam Pelech on the left and Ryan Pulock on the right.

The Islanders need a top-line winger who can put up 25+ goals a season. Someone like Winnipeg Jets sniper Patrik Laine. Laine is rumored to be available in the trade market for a top-pair D-man just line Toews.

A one-for-one deal isn’t likely, but perhaps Toews and a prospect could get the deal done and both teams get what they want. The Jets get that top-pair puck-mover they want and for the Isles they get a player who has 52 power-play goals over his career and who put up 44 goals in his sophomore year. It’s a win-win for both teams.

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