Rumours are spreading like wildfire that the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to part with one of their defensemen.
According to the rumours, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been shopping Justin Holl or Travis Dermott.
It’s easy to see how this rumour got started. Justin Holl did have a couple bad games. Auston Mathews was seen yelling at Holl on the bench and then Holl sat out while the team enjoyed a five game winning streak.
Justin Holl was given a second chance, but instead of rookie Timothy Liljegren watching from the press box, it was Travis Dermott who sat out a couple games before Liljegren sat out.
The other factor is that Ilya Mikheyev and Petr Mrazek are set to return from injury in early December and the Toronto Maple Leafs will be over the cap unless a transaction is made or someone else has a significant injury.
Someone’s gotta go. Who’s it gonna be?
This is Why the Toronto Maple Leafs Will Not Trade Holl or Dermott
There are a few reasons why the Toronto Maple Leafs are not going to trade Justin Holl or Travis Dermott, but the main reason is because they need “injury insurance.”
In a way, the Toronto Maple Leafs are focused on their not to distant future – the playoffs. Everyone knows that the regular season means nothing to the team.
The Toronto Maple Leafs could win the President’s trophy and it wouldn’t matter. They have to at least win a playoff round or this season will be deemed a failure.
You may need seven or eight good defensemen to get anywhere in the playoffs, and if the Toronto Maple Leafs trade Holl or Dermott, their seventh and eighth defenseman may be Kristians Rubins and Alex Biega.
Rubins and Biega aren’t bad, but imagine if Jake Muzzin goes down in the playoffs (for the third season in a row) and he’s replaced with Kristians Rubins. I’d rather see someone like Holl or Dermott step in instead of having half the defensemen in the lineup with relatively little NHL experience (Rubins, Lilijegren, and Sandin).
Last season, the Toronto Maple Leafs gave up a fifth round pick at the trade deadline for injury insurance defenseman, Ben Hutton, who was their eighth defenseman and barely played. I think the team would rather keep Holl and Dermott than give up another fifth rounder to replace them down the road.
Justin Holl and Travis Dermott are also on very team-friendly contracts.
How Will the Toronto Maple Leafs Create Cap Space?
The most likely scenario is that Timothy Liljegren will be sent down to the Toronto Marlies along with Kirill Semyonov since they’re both waiver exempt. It’s unfortunate since Liljegren has been playing well with the big club, but it’s the only way the Toronto Maple Leafs can create cap space without losing anyone.
Michael Amadio and Adam Brooks have already been scooped on waivers, so if anyone else has to pass through waivers, there’s a good chance they’ll be gone too.
Even if the Toronto Maple Leafs are dead set on keeping Liljegren in the NHL, they’d move a forward before they moved Holl or Dermott. It seems easier to replace a forward and there will be forwards on the Marlies that are ready to step up if there’s an injury (Clifford, Semyonov, Steeves, Ho-Sang, Robertson).
The most likely player to be traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs would, in my estimation, be Pierre Engvall, but it seems like they’d like to keep everyone if possible.