Today, we asked our staff about the Leafs’ newest callup.
While you always like to believe that players can step up to the big league – I expect maybe a difficult transition for young Travis. He has been marvellous with the Marlies this season and I think he certainly has a future as a possible top 4 d-man. But right now all I ask and expect off Dermott is a good attitude and 100%. This is a good time to call up a young defenceman as the team is largely guaranteed a playoff berth so can begin to play some of the fringe players to learn more about the group as a whole.
He cures every single disease known to man & is given a Nobel peace prize. But seriously, I think he plays some sheltered 3 D minutes, maaaaaaybe gets some PK time, and then gets sent down once Zaitsev gets back. From the few times I’ve talked with him, Dermott has struck me as a fantastic person, a team player, and someone hungry to improve. Even if his first NHL stint is short lived, it will be infinitely valuable in helping him continue his development. I am HYPED UP, FOLKS.
He’ll be great at doing coffee runs for Roman Polak
I think Dermott is going to be good. Not great, but good. It’s interesting seeing how strong Marincin was in the AHL and was unable to cut it. Dermott has also been good in the AHL so you hope that translates, but apparently it didn’t for Marincin. I’m curious to see if he gets in for Polak, or for Carrick. Obviously I’m hoping it’s Polak, but the defense needs a lot of improvements beyond swapping out 3rd pair d-men. I expect Dermott to thrive in 3rd pair minutes, similar to Borgman, but would likely be exposed in top 4 minutes, similar to Marincin.
Just gimme Rielly-Hainsey, Gardiner-Carrick, Borgman-Dermott, and I’ll be a happy man.
Realistic expectations? Hmm. Probably Nicklas Lidstrom (I kid). I’ve always been pretty high on him and I enjoy the pace he’s been on the last few weeks (13 points in his last 10 games). But I think he’ll be good to start off in a third pair role. In an ideal world he gets sheltered with Borgman but it’s Babcock so there’s a chance Carrick heads to the press box and Polak stays in. I like his game and if he shows the skill he’s been showing in the AHL, he could play up into the second pairing., which I think he can handle. But this is a realistic expectation so Dermott will play 9 minutes, Carrick doesn’t play, and Polak inexplicably gets 36 minutes, just like how Leo got 24 minutes last night. Sigh.
Dermott has taken another big step forward developmentally this season with the Marlies, increasing both his point production and shot production rates. That said, every time I’ve watched Dermott play, I’ve always thought he would most likely be a third pairing or extra defenseman if he ever became an NHL regular. Dermott can skate, defend, pass, and puck-handle well, but he does none of those things at a high enough level for me to feel confident that he’ll be a regular top-four defenseman in the NHL. Of course, Connor Brown is proof that you don’t need to be the flashiest player to be productive in the NHL. That said, considering Dermott is also a rookie, it’s unreasonable by any stretch to expect more than minor support to a flawed Leafs blueline. I’m expecting Dermott to come in and provide something similar to what we’ve gotten from the Leafs’ supplemental defenders all year. Or maybe he can provide something slightly better. Either way, expectations for Dermott for both now and in the future should be tempered.