The Islanders made a pair of moves this morning, signing restricted free agent defensemen Devon Toews and Kyle Burroughs to two-year extensions.
Toews was extended a qualifying offer of $874,125 while Burroughs’ qualifying offer was for $715,000.
(Update: the deals are for $700,000 for Toews and $675,000 for Burroughs, according to Cap Friendly, although that information is subject to change).
Toews’s deal is one-way, meaning he’ll get paid the same in the NHL as he would in the AHL, but the bet is that the Islanders expect him to be on or at least close to the big club shortly. A breakout, AHL All Star season in 2016-17 seemed to portend big things for the 2014 fourth round pick, who led all rookie defensemen in scoring that year. But a shoulder injury derailed last season for Toews, and he finished with eight goals and 22 points in just 30 games.
Toews has rocketed up the Islanders prospect rankings over the last two seasons, and the CT Post’s Michael Fornabaio says that “Toews probably would’ve gotten his NHL shot at New Year’s,” if not for that injury. Let’s hope he’s fully healed and can step into a line-up that’s going to need all the defensive help it’s going to get next season, but will have to wait for 2018 picks Noah Dobson and Bode Wilde to make an impact.
Burroughs, a seventh round pick in 2013, is the less heralded of the two, and has spent four seasons (three full ones) with Bridgeport. He’s been a solid player on and off the ice for the Sound Tigers, but as a light-scoring defensive type, it’s hard to say if he’ll get a crack at the NHL this season. His is a two-way extension.
The Islanders have two more remaining RFA’s to sign: Brock Nelson, whose arbitration hearing is set for August 3rd unless they settle beforehand, and defenseman Ryan Pulock, the potential game-changer who should get a more sizable deal than either of his former Sound Tigers teammates.
Another current Sound Tiger, who would like to be a “former Sound Tiger” and “current Islander” as soon as is humanly possible (I hope), is the endlessly discussed Josh Ho-Sang, who Gross reports is getting a clean slate from the Islanders’ new head coach and GM.
“I got to see the last two days of development camp and I’ve spent a couple of hours already with Josh,” Trotz said. “We talked about his game, his future, what he wants to do, what I expect. Things we can improve and some things that are said about Josh. He’s a talented, talented young man. He sees the game a little differently than some people and I think it’s getting a real balance of a dialogue with a young man like that, that I think the upside is tremendous.”
By the way, that coaching staff got a little more light this afternoon with the announcement that Kelly Buchberger has been named head coach of the WHL’s Tri City Americans, ending his one-year stay at the New York Islanders Home for Wayward Edmonton Oilers.
This concludes your Islanders’ organizational update for today.