Evaluating the Islanders’ Defense with the Departure of Devon Toews

In the first week of the offseason, defensemen, Devon Toews, was sent packing to Colorado.  In return, the Islanders received two second-round picks in next year’s draft.  Toews was a key contributor to the Isles, but the Islanders were not willing to resign him when he filed for arbitration.  As a result, they traded his rights away to Colorado.

Who Will Fill the Spot of Toews?

The Islanders have a problem about who can fill the role of Toews.  Head coach Barry Trotz was hesitant to play the young rookie, Noah Dobson, and only played one game in the playoffs.  It is possible that the Islanders feel Dobson will be ready for an everyday role on the Island following his performance in the game he played.

On the other hand, veteran Johnny Boychuk lost his spot following an injury in the play-in round in Toronto.  Boychuk played in 3 games in the bubble.  Perhaps the front office has confidence in one of these two players to take on or split time in the unfilled spot.

Are Any Free Agents Available?

The big-name defensemen have already signed for the most part.  Torey Krug joined the Blues.  Alex Pietrangelo signed with Vegas.  Multiple other notable free agents have already found a team to call home for the coming seasons.  Also, if the Islanders were willing to spend on a free agent, they would have likely kept Toews instead.  However, due to being very close to the salary cap, the Islanders were in no position to resign Toews or target free agent defensemen.

Does The Toews Trade Change the Style of Islanders Hockey?

Barry Trotz is arguably one of the best coaches.  Due to his knowledge of the defensive aspects of the game.  Even with the departure of a quality player, in Toews, Barry Trotz can still implement his style of hockey into their system with whoever may fill that role.  Trotz will likely still trust the system he has in place since it got the team far in the playoffs this past season.


Losing Devon Toews will have an inevitable impact on the team.  However, the Islanders will still be one of the league’s best regarding overall defensive skills.  The Islanders will still have the ability to keep their opponents off the scoreboard, just a little less than last year.  Toews was great, but the Islander will manage to find a suitor to replace this quality defender.

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