For the next calendar year, the Colorado Avalanche and defenseman Devon Toews will be circulating in the rumor mill, as Toews is set to hit unrestricted free agency next summer. Finishing out the last season of a four-year, $16.4MM ($4.1MM AAV), the Avalanche have received incredible surplus value from Toews on this contract. Pairing up nicely with star-defenseman Cale Makar, and becoming one of, if not the best defensive defenseman in the organization, Toews will undoubtedly be looking for a much higher salary on his next contract.
In an article by Peter Baugh of The Athletic, he writes that Evolving-Hockey has projected an eight-year, $64.4MM contract for Toews on his next deal. Within the last three years, Dougie Hamilton, Seth Jones, and Charlie McAvoy have all signed max term extensions, all making north of $9MM a year. In a similar list, MacKenzie Weegar, Hampus Lindholm, and Morgan Rielly have signed similarly long contracts, but are making between $6.25MM-$7.5MM a year. Given the quality of these defensemen, somewhere between $7.75MM-$8.25MM seems right for Toews, but not at a maximum length deal.
At 30 years old already, Toews will be hard-pressed to find an eight- or seven-year deal on his next contract, or will at least have to lower his price to get an interested team to bite. In Colorado, with Mikko Rantanen, Alexandar Georgiev, and Bowen Byram all needing new deals within two years, the Avalanche will have a difficult time financially fitting Toews into their long-term plans, even with the salary cap set to increase by a larger degree than in years past.
- Speculation has begun to increase on the landing spots for the college free agents that saw their exclusive rights expire yesterday. One of the most popular players on the list, Robert Mastrosimone, may be an interesting fit for the New York Islanders, at least according to Stefen Rosner of The Hockey News. Currently holding 44 of a possible 50 contracts heading into the season, Rosner notes that Mastrosimone would be a great fit for the Islanders and that Mastrosimone even grew up an Islanders fan. Struggling in his first three years in the NCAA with Boston University, Mastrosimone took it to the next level for Arizona State University last season, scoring 11 goals and 31 assists in 38 games.
- In more unfortunate news, the Guelph Storm announced that defenseman Cameron Allen will miss a significant chunk of next season due to shoulder surgery. In the 2023 NHL Draft, Allen was drafted in the fifth round by the Washington Capitals, coming off a down year by his standards. Allen saw his goal-scoring numbers dip by eight between his freshman and sophomore year and will have limited time this upcoming season to continue improving.