The New York Islanders announced on Monday afternoon that they traded defenseman Devon Toews to the Colorado Avalanche for a second-round draft pick in 2021 and 2022.
The 26-year-old blueliner was a restricted free agent and was in need of a new contract for an Islanders team already strapped for cash this offseason with an estimated $8.9 million in cap space.
With the likes of Mathew Barzal and Ryan Pulock still needing to be re-signed — and the Islanders in pursuit of a first-line scoring winger, Toews became expendable for a team that is already filled to the brim with defensive talent.
“This is how everything came out,” general manager Lou Lamoriello said. “There has to be a demand or it takes two to make any transaction. Devon was an individual who was involved. That’s the best way to put it. Not that he was a player targeted. That would be a disrespect to him.”
With Toews’ departure, it is all but confirmed that the young Noah Dobson will be a full-time member of New York’s defense next season.
“We would not have made this move if the ice time that Devon received, we didn’t have the ability to put a player into that,” Lamoriello said. “And Noah Dobson, we feel, is certainly ready to take the next step so we’ll have to just wait and see.”
Getting a pair of second-round picks allows the Islanders now to sweeten the pot on a potential salary-dumping deal that could get bloated contracts like that of Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, or Andrew Ladd’s off the books.
Toews played 116 games over two seasons with the Islanders, netting 11 goals and 35 assists with a plus-8 rating.