Devon Toews‘ first season with the Colorado Avalanche saw the defenseman be a consistent presence on the ice.
In fact, no player on the team averaged more ice time than the Colorado newcomer, who played 24:46 per contest and ranked 10th overall in the NHL. He also finished second on the club in blocked shots (87) and shared the team lead with 32 takeaways.
Offensively, the Abbotsford, British Columbia, native had a career year by posting personal bests with nine goals (tied for seventh among all league defenseman), 31 points and a plus-29 rating, which was tied for second in the NHL behind only teammate Mikko Rantanen (plus-30). Toews also matched his career high with 22 assists, a mark he previously set in 68 games with the New York Islanders in 2019-20; he played in 53 contests this past year with Colorado.
Acquired in an offseason trade by the Avalanche from the Islanders on Oct. 12, the defenseman found the scoresheet for the first time with the Avs in the second game of the season on Jan. 15 against the St. Louis Blues, scoring his first goal with his new club while also adding an assist in an 8-0 win.
On Feb. 20, Toews participated in his first outdoor game in the NHL when he skated in the Lake Tahoe event with the Avs versus the Vegas Golden Knights and tallied midway through the third period to give his squad a 3-1 lead at the time. The marker ended up being the game-winner, making Toews just the third defenseman to score the winning goal in an NHL outdoor game (it was the 32nd such game in league history) and the first since the Ottawa Senators’ Cody Ceci in the 2014 Heritage Classic against Vancouver (also Detroit’s Brian Rafalski in 2009 Winter Classic against Chicago).
In the final weeks of the season, Toews continued to produce. He had a personal-high three assists on March 16 versus the Anaheim Ducks–which also tied his personal best for points–skated a career-high 29:48 of ice time on April 5 at the Minnesota Wild (the most minutes by a Colorado skater in a non-overtime contest since Erik Johnson‘s 30:25 on Nov. 15, 2014 at New Jersey Devils) and recorded his first career multi-goal game on May 8 at the Los Angeles Kings.
In the final five games of the regular season and with the Avs likely needing to win-out to earn the Presidents’ Trophy and the top seed in the playoffs, Toews had two goals and four assists to help Colorado capture the award.
The playoffs were much of the same for Toews, as he recorded one goal and five assists while playing in all 10 games, finishing tied for second among club defensemen in points (six). He also led all Avalanche skaters with a plus-10 rating and 25:25 of ice time per contest in the playoffs.
Toews’s first campaign in Colorado saw him develop into a trusted rear guard on both ends of the ice for the squad’s defense, and it will likely remain that way for years to come after he signed a four-year contract with the Avalanche prior to last season on Oct. 27.