The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced a new one-year, team friendly contract extension for defenseman Travis Dermott.
Selected by the Leafs in the second round (34th overall) of the 2015 Draft, Dermott was a restricted free agent this off-season and there had been plenty of rumours that he may have played his last game for the white and blue.
Now, though, he has a chance to prove himself to the organization in the long-term, with general manager Kyle Dubas recently commenting on his potential deployment on the right side of defense rather than his usual left side.
Dermott A Great Deal For The Leafs
The Newmarket, Ontario native could have sought a decent pay rise this off-season, having become a regular along the Leafs blueline over the past three seasons, but he is taking a gamble on himself and showing his desire to stick around in the Six.
Since debuting in the 2017/18 season, the former second round pick has made 157 regular-season appearances in the NHL with nine goals and 41 total points, having averaged around 17 minutes of ice time. (Stats via Hockey Reference).
His debut season in the NHL also saw him named to the AHL All-Star Game and lift the Calder Cup with the Toronto Marlies, under the guidance of current Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe, who will be keen to get Dermott reaching the potential he has shown in flashes across his entry-level contract.
Dermott’s microstats portray a positive picture of the 23-year-old, who is a solid bottom pairing player with impressive zone exit stats – meaning that he helps his team to take the puck out of their own area often, something that is ideal for a defenseman.
There were times last season where Dermott appeared to make poor or lax decisions, but he is still young and has plenty of potential to grow.
Even if he plateaus, having him signed for less than $1 million while the salary cap remains flat is an excellent move for the team – who will not need to make any significant moves to accommodate his low cap hit.
What also makes this ‘prove it’ deal a good bit of business for the Toronto Maple Leafs, is the fact that Dermott will once again become a restricted free agent after the 2020/21 season – though he will be arbitration eligible and could look to be repaid for taking a smaller deal this time around.