Toronto Maple Leafs Should Use Travis Dermott Injury to Their Advantage

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 11: Travis Dermott #23 of the Toronto Maple Leafs gets set for the face-off against the Detroit Red Wings during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on October 11, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Leafs defeated the Wings 5-3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 11: Travis Dermott #23 of the Toronto Maple Leafs gets set for the face-off against the Detroit Red Wings during an NHL game at Little Caesars Arena on October 11, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. The Leafs defeated the Wings 5-3. (Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Maple Leafs drafted Travis Dermott in the second round, 34th overall, of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft.

That was the first year that current Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas ran the draft, and to get Dermott, he pulled off one of his signature moves.

That is – he traded down several spots so that he could add an asset.  In this draft, he gave the Flyers the 24th pick (Travis Konecny) in exchange for the 34th and 68th picks.

This move seems to have worked out pretty decent, as I think everyone is happy with Travis Dermott and his potential as a top-pairing defenseman, and would prefer him to Konecny.  (Especially given the Leafs needs).

As a bonus, Martins Dzierkals – who played in the KHL last year – could still turn out to be something.

Dubas did the same move last year, trading down and drafting Rasmus Sandin and Simyon Der=Arguchintsev, a player whose name I look forward to learning to spell.

Anyways, it appears to be a good move, since the two defenseman the Leafs picked up doing it are a big part of their future.

Which brings me back to Travis Dermott.

Travis Dermott

Dermott had a great year.  Paired mostly with Igor Ozhiganov, and then a collection of other guys, Dermott was consistently responsible for giving the Toronto Maple Leafs one of the best third line defense pairings in the NHL.

Unfortunately, he was injured late in the season, and when he came back he wasn’t very good.

Retrospectivally, the Leafs probably should not have rushed him back to the lineup. Given their performance in the playoffs, I think it’s safe to say that Calle Rosen and Igor Ozhiganov (or Sandin, or Holl) could have done better.

But that shouldn’t sour us on Dermott and his potential – which is that of a top pairing defenseman.

Dermott is, however, in need of shoulder surgery and he will be out until October. He will miss training camp, and most likely he won’t be all that effective until at least December.

This really sucks, but there could be a silver lining for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

A player like Dermott, who is on the verge of moving into top four (maybe higher) minutes, who projects to be a strong two-way puck mover (exactly what NHL teams are looking for) and who is capable of also playing the right side, wouldn’t likely want to sell himself short by signing a long-term contract extension too early.

But with his shoulder injury, maybe there’s just enough doubt there, just enough uncertainty in the future that the Toronto Maple Leafs could get his name on a long term extension.

If you’re out with an injury, and someone guarantees you some money and security, you’d have to at least think about it.  Maybe Dermott can have a great season, assume  core position on the team and demand $5 or so million.

But maybe he struggles after surgery and ends up on a one year prove-it deal.

Since there’s risk, he might be willing to sign now.  If the Leafs could lock him up on one of those deals were they  potentially overpay and take all the risk, in exchange for something they might hit a homerun on, shouldn’t they?

Next. Potential Opening Night Lineup. dark

what if they offered Dermott six years at a four million cap hit?  It would potentially be more than he could make next year if he doesn’t come back from injury strong, but it’s a deal that could really pay off handsomely for the Leafs.

The Toronto Maple Leafs should try to use Dermott’s injury to lock him up long-term.