New York Islanders Devon Toews
(Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The next stud prospect in the New York Islanders pipeline, Devon Toews, is ready for a chance to make his NHL debut.

Matt Di Giacomo

An ugly injury to Thomas Hickey has created a need for a top-four defenseman, and Devon Toews got the call for his audition with the New York Islanders.

During the Islanders’ 4-1 trouncing of the Colorado Avalanche, Hickey suffered a brutal upper-body injury which saw his evening end.

The Islanders are down a top-four defenseman who has gradually been gaining the confidence of head coach Barry Trotz as his average ice-time increased by about 30 seconds in his last dozen games compared to the start of the season.

In the wake of the injury, opportunity inevitably follows.

Toews was drafted by the Islanders in the fourth round, 108th overall in 2014. After his last season with Quinnipiac University, Toews took the AHL by storm in the 2016-17 season with 45 points and a nomination to the All-Star game where he won the fastest skater competition.

According to his player profile on the Islanders website, he will indeed wear number 25.

In 130 career AHL games, Toews compiled a resume boasting of 18 goals and 68 assists. This season, Toews is tied for ninth in the AHL in points by a defenseman, and second on the Sound Tigers.

Touted as a top-four defenseman of the future, Toews waited for his opportunity a little longer than he likely had to.

When the Islanders lost Calvin de Haan and eventually Johnny Boychuk last season, it’s believed the Islanders would have likely called up Toews had it not been for his season-ending shoulder surgery.

Toews joins an Islander team that is just starting to find its groove. The Isles are riding a three-game winning streak including a monster win against the Colorado Avalanche. Over his last four starts, Robin Lehner has been finding his game as well with a .947 save percentage and a 1.50 goals against average.

During their three-game winning streak, the Islanders are 3-for-12 on the powerplay (25 percent) and scored multiple powerplay goals against the Avs for the first time since Nov. 15.

It’s unlikely that Toews joins the Islanders in Las Vegas, but expect to see him slotted in during Sunday’s contest against the Dallas Stars. Luca Sbisa slotted in for the Islanders against the Coyotes and it’s likely he plays his seventh game of the season on Sunday.

Though the details of Hickey’s injury are undisclosed, the principal point of contact was his head so it’s possible he will miss extended time.

Fans and the team wish Hickey the best during his recovery, but it’s hard not to get excited about Devon Toews’ NHL debut.

Grew up a diehard Islanders and Mets fan based out of Northern New Jersey. Concluding my Broadcast Communications degree at William Paterson University. WP Sportsdesk member, Stan Fischler correspondent, music buff and total Star Wars freak. Follow my social media handles to learn more. Matt Di Giacomo is a Staff Writer for the Islanders on Elite Sports NY. He encourages team discussion. Tweet him @mdigiacESNY and check out his reviews on YouTube.