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New York Islanders Devon Toews Expectations with NHL Start

New York Islanders defensive prospect Devon Toews is likely going to make his NHL debut on Sunday against the Dallas Stars. What can and should we expect from him?

First, congratulations are in order for New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk who welcomed his third child into the world. Congrats Johnny!

With Boychuk back in New York, Devon Toews is slated to make his NHL debut against the Dallas Stars. It took a while but it finally seems here. What can we expect from the Isles fourth-round pick in 2014?

He’s another option to get the puck out of the zone, he can generate offense, but he’ll probably have to do it from his off side.

The Basics

With Johnny Boychuk out and Thomas Hickey still injured (although skating), Scott Mayfield has seemingly stepped up to the right side on the top pair next to Nick Leddy. Adam Pelech and Ryan Pulock round out unit number two. Luca Sbisa is on the left with lefty Devon Toews on the right to round out the final Isles defensive unit.

From everything we’ve seen during his stint in the AHL, Devon Toews is a smooth skating defenseman with fantastic offensive upside. In three seasons with the Sound Tigers, he’s amassed 86 points in 130 games. This season he’s averaging 0.79 points per game, a pace of 60 over a full AHL season.

But as we’ve seen with other Isles defenseman, the offense isn’t the first thing that Barry Trotz is looking for. He wants defense first.

What we should expect from Devon Toews is to be solid in his own end. Make sure that he and potential partner Luca Sbisa don’t get hemmed in against a good Stars team. Make sure the front of the net is clear. Just do the basics right.

Again, the Dallas Stars are a good team with significant talent up front. It won’t be an easy task for Toews on his NHL debut. But if he can do the basics right, he’ll have made a good start to his NHL career.

Anything else is just “gravy”. If he gets an assist or even a goal, great. The goal for Toews will be to make sure he does the basics right. And like Barry Trotz has said multiple times if the basics are done the offense will come.

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I expect Devon Toews to look perfectly comfortable in his likely first stint in the NHL. He might not be back after the Christmas break when Hickey and Boychuk are back, but we’ll get a glimpse of a player we’ll get to know well over the coming years.


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