The next stud prospect in the New York Islanders pipeline, Devon Toews, is ready for a chance to make his NHL debut.
#Isles Transactions: Thomas Hickey has been placed on IR (retroactive to 12/17). Devon Toews has been recalled from Bridgeport.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) December 19, 2018
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.
— Rob Taub (@RTaub_) December 18, 2018
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.
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.