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Preview: Travis Dermott to make debut with Marlies tonight

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With Stuart Percy out, the rookie gets the nod.

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Travis Dermott, drafted 34th by the Leafs last year is fresh off a good season with the Erie Otters of the OHL. He is an assist machine, racking up 37 assists in 51 games this year, while getting only six goals. He often acts as the quarterback on the power play.

In February Scott Wheeler moved him up in his personal rankings:

Travis Dermott also rose substantially thanks to some impressive play as one of the OHL's best defencemen this year, though I still worry about his skating limiting his upside when he becomes a pro.

Dermott has been practising with the Marlies since the end of April, arriving at almost the same time as Andreas Johnson. There was no real expectation that he would play in the playoffs, but the hit on Stuart Percy by Joseph Blandisi has opened the door for Sheldon Keefe to try out the young rookie.

Percy hasn't skated since the hit, but he was reported by Paul Hendrick to be feeling much better and is officially day to day.

Keefe had other choices to fill the gap on defence, Andrew Nielsen, who has played in five regular season games is available, as is David Kolomatis, who has played in 23 games. They're both right-shots, and while Loov, Percy's usual partner, is a lefty, he plays the right side a lot. The choice might be as much about bringing in someone to play the left side as it is anything else.

In yesterday's review of the Marlies-Devils game three loss, we polled the crowd on what Sheldon Keefe should do now that the Marlies are down two games to one.

You said:

We were hoping switching up the defence would not be necessary, but that's not all Keefe is planning for tonight.

Nikita Soshnikov is expected to draw in to the lineup, but there's a question if Freddy Gauthier will be his centre. Paul Hendrick is suggesting Ben Smith might centre the fourth line with Rich Clune in his usual spot. So for those that thought shaking up the fourth line was the answer, it seems like Keefe agrees.

The other interesting tidbit from the morning skate was the news that Matt Frattin is skating and may be ready to play. If that's true, he might draw in on Arcobello's line fulfilling the put some muscle there option that not many of you thought was a good idea. Someone has to move in to Ben Smith's spot on the third line, so it's possible he might go there.

If Colin Smith gets the nod too, then Keefe will have picked everything at once except doing nothing!

The one thing he is doing nothing new with is the goaltending. Antoine Bibeau is expected to start.