Avalanche sign defenseman Devon Toews to 4-year deal

NHL Hockey

DENVER (AP)Over a month’s span, defenseman Devon Toews recorded a hat trick of memorable moments: making the Eastern Conference finals with the New York Islanders, getting married and being dealt to the Colorado Avalanche.

Now, add in another – a lucrative payday.

The 26-year-old Toews agreed to a four-year deal that runs through the 2023-24 season, the Avalanche announced Tuesday. It’s worth $16.4 million, according to CapFriendly, and represents a sizeable commitment in this time of a flat salary cap due to money lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s not lost on Toews.

”It’s a crazy time right now, with a lot of moving parts in the league and the world in general,” said Toews, who got married on Oct. 10. ”To have that security to know that we can settle down and try to start a family here, in one place, without having to worry about moving around is something we’re very excited about.”

Colorado acquired Toews from the New York Islanders on Oct. 12 in exchange for a second-round pick in 2021 and another in ’22.

Toews had six goals and 22 assists in 68 games for the Islanders last season. He played in all 22 of the team’s playoff games, where he had two goals and eight assists.

”Devon is a smart, two-way, puck-moving defenseman who is a durable defender and is excellent in transition,” Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said in a statement.

Toews said his goal is to quickly mesh with the current crew of Avalanche blue liners. The group is headlined by Cale Makar, who turns 22 on Friday and is coming off a season in which he won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year.

”I’m not a guy that’s going to go out there and do anything flashy. I just want to complement the players that they already have and put them in the best situations with the puck,” Toews said. ”I try to pride myself on being a very calm and collected player.”

Toews admitted it was emotional moving on from his Islanders teammates, especially after their postseason run. They advanced to the Eastern Conference finals before being eliminated in Game 6 by the eventual Stanley Cup-winning Tampa Bay Lightning.

”A lot of people look at it as a hockey trade right away, how exciting it is to go to a great team like Colorado. But there’s definitely an emotional side of it with all the relationships and friends and stuff we made here,” Toews said. ”We’re so grateful for everything the Islanders have done for us. We’re also so grateful for everything we’re going to have in Colorado and them putting their faith in me in trading for me, giving me a chance there.”

Two of his Islanders teammates, Derick Brassard and goaltender Semyon Varlamov, spoke favorably of their experiences in Denver.

”Just telling me how great of a situation I’m going into and how grateful I should be that I get to be an Avalanche player,” recounted Toews, who was a fourth-round pick by the Islanders in 2014. ”That was great for them to reach out and show support and a little positivity there.”

For more AP NHL coverage: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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