Star defenseman torches his team to the media, may want a fresh start elsewhere

Dean Chaudhry
December 20, 2023  (7:45 PM)

Photo credit: Sportsnet

The Colorado Avalanche are tied for first in the Central Division with the Dallas Stars and boast a 19-11-2 record while scoring the third most goals in the conference, and have been without their captain, Gabriel Landeskog as season long. However, even though the Avs are looking quite strong on paper, one top defenseman in Colorado, Devon Toews, had some harsh words for some of his teammates following their recent 3-2 defeat to the Chicago Blackhawks.

"I think we got some guys who think they're playing well but I think they're kidding themselves at this point. It's frustrating to play out there when you got guys that think they're playing well and doing things that you have no idea what play they're going to make or where they're going to be on the ice. It's tough to play in this league when you don't know where your teammates are going to be and that's where a lot of the frustration stems from."

Toews has become one of the most reliable two-way defensemen in the league, especially after his move to Colorado, where he's most often been paired up with Cale Makar. The Avalanche boast a very top-heavy offense with Nathan MacKinnon leading the charge with 48 points, Mikko Rantanen not far behind with 40, Makar with 37, and Valeri Nichushkin with 29.
The comments made by Toews might seem like an overreaction when you look at their placement in the standings and where they rank in the main statistical categories, but they showcase the fact that he has very high expectations for himself and his teammates and, in his mind, a lot of their players are not cutting it right now - something Toews is not afraid to acknowledge publicly.
This is the second time in the last few weeks that an Avalanche player has gone off in front of the camera with media present. Just a couple of short weeks ago, Mikko Rantanen went off on Artturi Lehkonen's father, a Finnish reporter, after he suggested that Rantanen is not looking nearly as sharp as he should due to a poor summer that lacked an appropriate amount of training.
While Rantanen's outburst was about a teammate's relative and not a direct beef with a teammate, Toews' outburst was very much directed at players on the team. It will be interesting to see how this all unfolds and whether the two-way defenseman ends up requesting a trade as he is clearly unhappy with the play of many of his teammates.
With the Maple Leafs still very much on the hunt for a top-4 defenseman, it will be interesting to see whether or not Leafs GM Brad Treliving reaches out to the Avs to inquire about Toews. If he becomes available, he'd be a definite improvement in Toronto.
Star defenseman torches his team to the media, may want a fresh start elsewhere

If Devon Toews suddenly became available in Colorado, would he become the new top target for the Leafs?

No, it's still Tanev13118.5 %
Yes, Toews is better than Tanev39756.1 %
Too close to call18025.4 %
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