The New York Islanders have stayed remarkably healthy on the blue line this season. So much so it hasn’t given one of their better prospects, Devon Toews an opportunity at the NHL level yet. However, that changed earlier this week and now the Isles need to play Toews.
On the first game of the New York Islanders four-game southwest trip, the blue and orange lost Thomas Hickey to injury. Hickey fell awkwardly into the boards in the game versus Colorado.
This should be the opportunity to play Devon Toews and see if he is indeed an NHL defenseman.
Waiting for His Chance
Toews, a fourth-round pick in the 2014 Draft, has been patiently waiting for his chance. The product from Quinnipiac could have played with the Isles from mid-December on last season if it wasn’t for an ill-timed injury.
Toews showed up to training camp wanting to show the Isles brass he should be considered a part of the Isles future core. By all accounts, Toews had a strong camp and warranted an opening night roster spot. However, a numbers game had Toews start the year in Bridgeport.
Toews didn’t sulk, as he has been an impressive player for the Sound Tigers this season (5 Goals, 19 Points, 24 Games). Toews is just waiting for his chance.
Time is Now
It’s easy to understand the rationale of the Barry Trotz not starting Toews in the game versus the Golden Knights. Toews had to fly across the country and had no practice team with the team this week. Plus the Isles had their seventh defenseman, Luca Sbisa on hand.
Heading into Sunday’s contest against the Dallas Stars is a different kettle of fish.
As much as the Isles should be playing for the here and now, they also must keep their eyes on the big picture for this franchise. The big picture includes understanding what they have throughout the organization regarding all of their young players.
With all due respect to Lucas Sbisa and even Hickey whose role is that of a depth player, the Isles need to know what they have in Toews, Josh Ho-Sang, Michael Dal Colle, and Kieffer Bellows moving forward. All of these players need to get significant ice time with the big club this season.
Toews opportunity should start Sunday in the Lone-Star state. It’s time to see what this 24-year old puck-moving defenseman can do in the NHL.