The Toronto Maple Leafs have once again pulled a rabbit out of a hat.
On Friday, it was announced that the Toronto Maple Leafs signed Travis Dermott to a one-year contract extension for just slightly above the league minimum.
While I don’t like the rules that allow a billion dollar corporation to force a very successful player to take much less money than he deserves, or that get me to cheer for it, this is a coup for the Leafs.
Travis Dermott has been one of the most successful non-superstars of his birth year, and one of the NHL’s best third-pairing players over the last couple of seasons.
With one stroke of the pen, the Leafs not only get deeper, but they add another level of competition to their crowded blue-line. Not to mention that Travis Dermott has a high ceiling. He may never be a T.J Brodie, but its not impossible.
Toronto Maple Leafs and Travis Dermott
The Leafs blueline now features incomparable depth (no other NHL team has ten NHL players on their blue-line) as well as being one of the best high-end bluelines as well.
No team is rocking ten NHL calibre players (Rielly, Brodie, Muzzin, Holl, Dermott, Sandin, Lehtonen, Bogosian, Marincin, Rosen) and few teams can compete with a top three that features Rielly, Brodie and Muzzin.
The cost to pull this off: Andreas Johnsson and Kasperi Kapanen.
If I didn’t predict it many times, I’d probably be speechless. Even in my optimism I never foresaw the Leafs being able to pull off what they have while retaining Hyman and Dermott.
The crazy thing is, since Dubas signed both players to multi-year extensions at team-friendly prices, both players brought back more than they were worth, while the Leafs already had replacements for them locked and loaded.
Andreas Johnsson, who the Leafs were forced to sell low on after an injury wrecked his post-breakout season (where, let us not forget, he scored at a first-line rate), still brought back a younger, cheaper prospect (Joey Anderson) who is NHL ready, but who also scored more in the AHL than Johnsson did at the same age.
Kapanan somehow brought back a prospect who projects to be better than he is, Filip Hollander, and a first round pick.
All in all, it shows that despite being razed constantly for their cap situation, the Leafs actually had a level of flexibility that other teams just don’t have. The reason: they don’t have any mid-range contracts to average players like every single other NHL team does.
The Travis Dermott signing – which ensures the Leafs have internal competition and depth to overcome injuries in what is sure to be a condensed schedule – is the cherry on top of one of the most successful off-seasons in NHL history.
At this point, if you haven’t been won over by Kyle Dubas it may be because the team specifically rejected your vision in favor of his.