Maple Leafs’ Travis Dermott earns more opportunity in loss to Avalanche

TORONTO,ON - JANUARY 16: Travis Dermott
TORONTO,ON - JANUARY 16: Travis Dermott /

Despite the Toronto Maple Leafs losing to the Colorado Avalanche, defenceman Travis Dermott was given an increased role as he continues to earn Mike Babcock’s trust.

The Toronto Maple Leafs certainly deserved a better fate against the Colorado Avalanche, a disallowed goal ending up being the difference in a 3-2 win for Colorado.

It was not all for nothing though as rookie Travis Dermott continues to prove that he deserves in the lineup. The 20-year-old played 20:20 which was fourth among Leafs skaters and was third in even strength minutes behind Jake Gardiner and Ron Hainsey.

This was not a game that the Leafs were out played in but a couple of mistakes proved to be costly as the Avalanche take both games against Toronto this season.

Many Leafs fans will be wondering whether Auston Matthews should have been credited with two goals instead of one, after a challenge for goaltender interference took away a goal from him.

More from Tip of the Tower

Mike Babcock made sure to show his displeasure with the referees when the goal was reviewed and called back, Matthews could not believe it.

Former Leafs goalie Jonathan Bernier was tested and showed that he is a different goalie than what he was back a couple of seasons ago.

There was nothing going to stop Patrick Marleau from scoring one of the hardest shots of the year so far as he walked in from the point and beat Bernier who was not going to stop that.

What the Leafs did well in this game is avoid letting things get to them and continue to push back which is exactly what Matthews did. This time he made sure to let the referees know that the goal was going to count this time.

Unfortunately a turnover from Andreas Borgman led to Nail Yakupov getting the game tied at two then Blake Comeau goes untouched to the net and puts the Avalanche ahead 3-2.

Babcock was encouraged by the effort of his team even though they were unable to come away with the win.

While many will be talking about the goaltender interference call, seeing Dermott thrive with the extra responsibility should be encouraging to see. He and Carrick did great in terms of possession which got a bump with the 68 per cent of zone starts  they had in the offensive zone.

Dermott came close to getting his first goal but he also made it a point to use his speed and aggressiveness to try and create offence.

It should also be noted that Roman Polak only played 13:49 tonight which may have been because of the speed the Avalanche possess which made it tough to roll out Polak.

Next: Tip of the Tower Podcast ft. Chris Johnston

The Leafs would have a hard time sending down Dermott especially if Babcock was willing to give him as much icetime as he did. We will see what that means for Borgman and Polak once players come back from injuries but the signs are looking favourable for Dermott.