Toronto Maple Leafs Top 20 Young Leafs: No.17-20

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The 18th ranked Young Leafs player in the system, voted by the writers, is Travis Dermott.

Dermott was the first defensive selection by Mark Hunter, and a surprising one when it happened.

That said, he took strides to better his game last season both offensively and defensively and is a true two-way defender. There aren’t many risk plays made by Dermott, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

The highlight reel for Dermott isn’t going to be filled with Jake Gardiner/Morgan Rielly dangles through the opposition, but you aren’t going to find many clips of him blown by in his own zone.

The hopes are that he turns into a solid second pairing defender for the Leafs down the road but we could be looking at a ceiling of a good third pair. The downfall for Dermott is he’s going to have constant competition for his position given his handedness being left.

With Gardiner and Rielly, in a perfect world, occupying the first and second pair left shots in a left-right system there isn’t much room above P3 for the next few years.

Fortunately, Dermott will be spending the majority of his time with the Toronto Marlies for those years developing into, what everyone hopes will be, a steady professional defender.

EliteProspects says this about Dermott:

"An intelligent, mobile defenseman that capitalizes on offensive chances when they arise and is quick to recognize his post and backcheck hard. Doesn’t force plays or take a lot of chances; rather, he plays it simply, letting the game come to him. Decent physical game, but not overly physical as he can lose some size matchups. All-in-all, a two-way defenseman that makes smart, high-percentage decisions in all three zones."

Defense is an unforgiving position in the sense that there’s no where to hide. If you mess up it’s going to be noticed.

It’s important for Dermott to learn the Leafs system and progress in the American Hockey League while fans and management play the waiting game on the 19 year old.

As it stands now, Dermott is one of the better young prospects on defense in what’s arguably a weak defender pool.