A day after the Stanley Cup was awarded, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that they had signed Travis Dermott to a two-year contract worth $1.5 million per season. The contract came as a surprise to most of us as Dermott was getting some real money with term after a season where he was all but supplanted by Rasmus Sandin.

In a normal season, Dermott would enter October as the Leafs sixth, maybe even seventh defenseman, and he’s getting $1.5 million? What gives?

Well, in short, the Expansion Draft. The Leafs are set to lose one player from their team, most likely their fourth or fifth defenseman, or Alex Kerfoot if they’re feeling really spicy. Dermott’s extension, which echos the final two years of Justin Holl’s contract, feels like preparation for that event.

To me, the Leafs going 4/4/1 feels out of the question. Out of Kerfoot, Holl, and Dermott, Kerfoot has the most actionable trade value at the moment. For that reason, it would be difficult to give him up for nothing. Between Holl and Dermott the Leafs, but more so the Kraken, have a choice. Pick one defenseman and leave the other in Toronto. That’s my guess for how this is going to go down. One of Holl or Dermott is going to Seattle and the other will step back in next to Jake Muzzin, or fight the younger Sandin for a prominent role in the top-four.

Between Holl and Dermott, the Leafs have two very different defensemen that provide different things for the Leafs. Holl has been Muzzin’s partner for a few years now and is solidly in that spot. He doesn’t make Muzzin and the pair better, but the Leafs could do much worse. In Dermott, the Leafs have a defenseman they can’t trust in the top four, who’s stereotype is as an offensive defenseman, but his results show low-event, boring hockey in both directions. A result of lots of time skating with the bottom six, I’m sure.

The Leafs probably want to keep Holl, but they don’t get to choose who stays, that’s up to GM Ron Francis and head coach Dave Hakstol in Seattle. I think the Kraken prefer Dermott for the reasons that he has more offensive upside that can be unlocked with different deployment and linemates, he’s younger, and there’s no stakes if this big swing ends in a flyout. At the very least there’s fewer stakes than in Toronto where the team is desperate to win now.

Who do the Leafs lose in the Expansion Draft?

Justin Holl118
Travis Dermott256
Alex Kerfoot201
Someone else38

Talking about Dermott the player and Dermott the person, it’s going to suck to see him go. He’s a good player and a good person who has always done what’s best for the team, whether that’s in the AHL during a very special year, or in the NHL getting scratched for Sandin. He didn’t rock the boat, which is all Hockey Men ever want.

He is a second round pick that was deemed a success, but didn’t quite meet the expectations thrust upon him. By the way, the last Leafs player gone during Expansion was a third round pick so that part isn’t the end of the world. Maybe he’ll get closer to those goals on a new team with a stronger right side than left side. Or maybe he sticks around in Toronto, wins himself a spot on the second pair and we all live happily ever after.

Also, I haven’t said this in a while, but I really wish he had kept #3. It was a great number on him.

Various Leafs and Branches

Dermott Re-Signs! | by: Katya

Seattle Expansion Draft Process and Timeline | by: Katya

2021 NHL Draft Profile: Samu Salminen | by: Brigs

How Much Is Your NHL Fanbase Allowed To Complain? | by: Fulemin

Dermott wasn’t given any assurances about the Expansion Draft, so everything is still on the table.

Hey, Kyle! Let’s go get a goalie!

Rick Tocchet is looking for a job after losing the bench in Arizona.

Nikita Kucherov facetimed his idol after winning the Stanley Cup. Amazing.

Kucherov took a lot of crap this year, and he’s happily rubbing it in everyone’s faces.