The New York Islanders traded Devon Toews yesterday and naturally, Twitter had itself a meltdown in the process.
Heading into the offseason, the New York Islanders were facing a cap crunch with just under $9 million in cap space, and Mathew Barzal, Ryan Pulock, and Devon Toews needing to be signed to extensions.
Through the first three and a half days of free agency, the Isles were quiet, but by the afternoon on Monday, they made their big first move. They traded away Devon Toews to the Colorado Avalanche for two-second round picks.
The move yielded a lot of harsh criticism towards Lou Lamoriello which, frankly I don’t see. Now, that’s not to say that Lou is immune to criticism. I’ve gotten on him for the Leo Komarov signing, the lack of moves in 2018-2019 at the deadline, and the handling of Robin Lehner last year.
I just don’t see the criticism in this specific instance. The Islanders need to clear cap space, in the middle of a global pandemic where the cap was flat (something no team was prepared for) and got two picks that could be used to move other pieces to clear even more cap.
In a vacuum, if this was the only move made this offseason, sure that’s not good, for obvious reasons but this is the first domino to fall in an offseason that is expected to bring a lot of change.
The analytics world is a big fan of Devon Toews, who to his credit is a good puck-moving defenseman, but let’s not pretend that his game is without flaw, please.
Don’t get it misconstrued, I’m not minimizing the importance of analytics. It’s a good tool to use in the evaluation process, but it doesn’t tell the entire story. He puts up points, but if you watch this team on a regular basis you know he’s not very good defensively.
Twice in Game 6 against Tampa, he took delay of game penalties in a complete panic move. In Game 2 he had a bad icing before the first Tampa goal and also did not get a puck on net wide open in the slot with under two minutes to go.
Those are just a few recent examples. Another criticism was that he was the lead on the Isles power play, so that was another bad reason to move on from Toews. Really? The team was 24th and 29th the last two years on the power play.
I think they’ll be able to survive with Ryan Pulock, Nick Leddy, and possibly Noah Dobson as the power play defensemen.
Comparatively, the Isles got a better deal than what the Golden Knights got for Nate Schmidt who is objectively a better defenseman and who was a top-pair guy for them. Vancouver gave up a single third-rounder for him.
I understand that he’s three years older and likely will be signed at a higher cap hit but how does Lou get ripped for his deal and you don’t hear boo about Kelly McCrimmon moving a top-pair talent for a third?
I’m not anti-Devon Toews, I think he’s a decent second pairing d-man, the “elite” talk is pretty ridiculous, but this is a position where the Islanders have depth. If Lou uses some of the newly acquired assets to get Boychuk off the books too, then so be it.
Pelech – Pulock, Leddy – Mayfield, Greene/Aho – Dobson is more than capable as a d-core especially if the movement from Toews can also yield the room to add another forward via trade or free agency.
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The trade is not nearly as bad as what Twitter will tell you it is. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an angry mob to defend against.