IQ: As a late bloomer, Toews likely benefited from his wealth of AHL experience prior to joining the New York Islanders. He shows outstanding poise and decision-making, understanding when to slow the game down and when to jump up in order to supplement the offense. Moreover, he knows his limitations, sticking to simple, fundamental and effective plays all over the ice.
Active Stick: The best element of his defensive game is his stick work. He’s precise and possesses good reach for his size (6’1”, 191 lbs), which allows him to keep a fairly tight gap in the neutral zone. He’s particularly adept at engaging opponents with his body while keeping one hand free to sweep the puck away.
Passing: Unlike many puck-movers, Toews plays within himself when he’s in possession too. He makes smart, basic passes at both ends to put his teammates in advantageous situations. It may not seem like much, but an accurate D-to-D setup in the offensive zone or a crisp connection on the breakout can open up a world of opportunities.
Speed: Though Toews is a capable skater, he certainly doesn’t boast blinding speed. This limits his involvement on the rush and can create issues when defending burners. Since he’s now tasked with stopping the opposition’s best on Colorado’s top pairing, this can become a concern in the fast-paced, high-intensity playoffs.
Over-Aggressiveness: Another downside of his merely decent skating is that when he does choose to join the attack, he can struggle to regain sound positioning if the play tilts back toward his zone in a hurry. Especially next to a dynamic partner like Cale Makar, he’s better off acting as a facilitator.