The Toronto Maple Leafs have today announced a new two-year contract extension with defenceman Travis Dermott.
Travis Dermott has signed a new two-year contract extension with the Toronto Maple Leafs, after he was set to become a restricted free agent this summer and would have required a qualifying offer in order for the team to retain his rights.
Dermott has been a part of the Leafs organization since he was selected in the second round (34th overall) of the 2015 Draft, being involved in the NHL roster on a regular basis since the 2017/18 season – accumulating 208 regular season appearances (11 goals, 36 assists) over the past four seasons.
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After initially breaking into the Leafs’ line-up, Dermott looked set to develop into a consistent top-four blueliner, averaging 17:19 in ice time during his third season with the team, but this most recent campaign has seen him drop further down the depth chart.
Dermott’s new deal could present the Leafs with an opportunity to entice the Seattle Kraken to select the 24-year-old defenceman ahead of the expected expansion draft choice of centre Alexander Kerfoot – allowing the Leafs to keep their forward group together while taking a minor hit to their defensive core.
The likes of Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren are knocking on the door for more NHL minutes and with a player such as Dermott still around, this makes it difficult for head coach Sheldon Keefe to accommodate.
Losing Dermott in the expansion would be a disappointment, but Kerfoot’s current contributions are more valuable to the team in the long run and this team-friendly deal could be a way of encouraging the league’s newest team away from the obvious choice.
It may also be a way for the Leafs to protect seven forwards and three defencemen instead of the anticipated eight combined skaters – potentially exposing Justin Holl, protecting Kerfoot, and forcing Seattle into a difficult decision over which defencemen to take.
If a scenario passes where the Leafs still have Dermott after the expansion draft, this contract represents value for a player that still has plenty of potential to grow at the NHL level and could still be a valuable contributor to the team for the foreseeable future.
The Toronto Maple Leafs will announce their protected list of players ahead of the expansion draft later this month, and plenty more deals could be expected ahead of this important date in the off-season calendar.