Toronto Selects Travis Dermott with the 34th Overall Pick

Screen cap courtesy Sportsnet

After trading down not once but twice, and right out of the first round yesterday, the Toronto Maple Leafs have picked up Erie Otters defenceman Travis Dermott with the 34th overall pick.

This is, to be honest, a bit of a surprise. Toronto had previously made a pretty big deal about needing to “hit a home run” with their late 1st round pick – I assume the same would apply to their early second rounder. With a number of expected first round talents still available today, such as Charlottetown’s Daniel Sprong, Prince George’s Jansen Harkins and AIK’s Oliver Kylington, the Leafs still felt Dermott was their best option.

Playing behind top prospects like Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Arizona’s Dylan Strome, Dermott put up a eight goals and 45 points in 61 regular season games with the Erie Otters. Perhaps even more impressive, the 6’0, 196lb Newmarket native added another 17 points in 19 playoff games.

Dermott was ranked 46th amongst North American Skaters by NHL Central Scouting. The independent scouting services favoured Dermott a little more, with McKeen’s ranking him 30th and Future Considerations ranking him 36th. Less favourably, ESPN’s Corey Pronman ranked Dermott down at 95th.

Scouting Reports

Dermott is an intelligent two-way blueliner. He is a fluid skater who has strong legs and gen-
erates power with every stride he takes. He is great on his feet in transition and can get up to
speed quickly while carrying the puck with confidence. He maintains possession at top speed
and controls the puck extremely well. He makes superb plays with the puck: both simple and
effective to get the puck up ice and create scoring opportunities. He sees the ice in front of him,
giving him the ability to see lanes and make smart, sharp passes both short- and long-range.
His best asset is his hockey sense and smarts; he always seems to make the right play whether
on the breakout or in his own zone. He has a cannon of a shot and can really blast it through
traffic on goal. He exudes confidence, patience and creativity.  

Future Considerations


Cerebral, with a quiet, calm demeanour, rarely
panicking or finding himself in a poor position to make a play .. a strong,
heads up puckhandler assessing options carefully for a safe outlet ..has a slight bow legged skating style yet is crisp, agile and light on his edges, however, his top end speed is not an area of strength .. deploys wide, powerful strides with excellent lateral agility that he will use to skate himself out of trouble .. learned to be more selective as to when he will skate the puck out as the season progressed and less prone to trying to do too much .. modest in size he has a thick body but is not an intimidating presence and too easily manhandled along the boards .. with a mix of good skating, defensive instincts and puck movement able to create lanes and space while closing gaps relying on his
footwork and positioning .. plays a staunch and mature game as he excels in many facets while providing timely offence .. reminds of Justin Faulk in development .. needs to get stronger but projects as a solid
defender with offensive upside and the ability to run a power play.

McKeen’s Hockey


After being selected in the ninth round in the OHL draft, he’s seen his stock rise quite a bit this season. He’s a two-way defenseman but his value is tiled more toward offense. He rarely forces plays, and makes good outlets under pressure. He’s slightly undersized, but Dermott does battle hard for pucks and shows fine defensive IQ. Overall, his defensive-zone play projects to be about average as a pro, although he’s been solid in that area as an OHLer.

Corey Pronman, ESPN

Other Leafs Picks…

Mitch Marner, 4th Overall

Travis Dermott, 34th Overall

Jeremy Bracco, 61st Overall

Andrew Neilsen, 65th Overall

Martins Dzierkals, 68th Overall

Jesper Lindgren, 95th Overall

Dmytro Timashov, 125th Overall

Stephen Desrocher, 155th Overall

Nikita Korostelev, 185th Overall

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  • Gary Empey

    It is impressive any time a draft eligible player is the number one defenceman, and used in all situations by his OHL team. Its even more impressive when that team is one of the top contenders in the league. With 45 points in 61 games during the regular season, Dermott certainly showed that he was an important part of the Erie Otters, supplying offense from the back end. He took his game up another notch in the playoffs with 17 points in 19 games as the Otters went all the way to the Ontario Hockey League final.

    Travis Dermott’s biggest asset is his hockey sense. His positioning at both ends of the ice is extremely strong. He reads the play well, and picks the right times to pinch in at the blueline, to join the rush, or to look to step up and make a hit. With the puck on his stick he is able to avoid danger with good poise and decent stickhandling, use his vision to make a strong first pass, or to control the play and quarterback things from the point on the powerplay. His shot could use more power, but he gets it through traffic, and keeps it low and on net, looking for screens, deflections and tip ins. He almost always has his head up and looking for the right play, which he makes on most occassions. He isn’t the top of puck rushing defenceman to try and go coast to coast with it, but has been known to follow up on the play to unleash a wrist shot or one timer.

    Travis Dermott is a very good skater. He has impressive speed and acceleration in both directions. He has a very quick first step which allows him to be first on loose pucks. With his good pivots, edgework and agility he is able to transition from offence to defence, or vice-versa, quickly and this helps him to cover a ton of ice. This agility and edgework also helps him to walk the line in the offensive zone, allowing him to open up shooting and passing lanes. Dermott might not be the biggest player, but he has a strong lower body and is solid on his skates, helping him to win board battles and to clear the front of the net. While he does well against most players, he can still struggle with the exceptionally big forwards though just due to the sheer size and strength mismatch.

    Dermott is a very solid defensive player. His strong positioning and skating allow him to maintain excellent gap control and funnel attackers to the outside of the ice. He is quick on the puck, retrieving it out of the corners or pouncing on rebounds and clearing them out of danger. Dermott is an absolutely fearless shot blocker, willing to put his body on the line to help the team win. He plays big minutes against the opponents top lines, and on the penalty kill for the Otters.

    Travis Dermott has the potential to be a solid top four defenseman in the NHL. His size and strength can be improved going forward, and he can develop into an even better stickhandler to create more plays, but overall he’s got a well-rounded game that should take him far. He doesn’t have the high-end upside of some of the other defencemen in this draft, as I’m not sure he can ever be an elite player at the next level, but he should still be a solid contributor. His game is reminiscent of Kris Russell of the Calgary Flames, though this is a stylistic comparison and not one based on talent.

        • Gary Empey

          Hey kids take a deep breath, I wanted a big splash at this draft as well HOWEVER… Rome was not built in a day. We will be drafting top 5 for the next few years so if the Leafs can get kids who have a huge upside and odds are will play in the NHL if developed properly, I am in.
          From what I have read on this kid, and the few times I watched Erie, he will play in the NHL and that’s more than you can say about many other 2nd round and even late first round picks.

    • harkins was waiting for us on a silver platter. why leafs why. intelligent 2 way centre with great skating…. smh leafs why did you get percy 2.0? i just pray he’s a poor man’s seabrook. someone who can eat up a bunch of minutes and plays a solid 2 way game… not a 3-6 pairing guy who the leafs have an endless supply of.

      • Harte of a Lion

        When I watched him play I thought of both Kane and Giroux. He might not be a “franchise player” aka McDavid but you surround him with talent and team first players and he will one day be our captain. Doug Gilmour version 2.0

    • Harte of a Lion

      Did anyone else notice the only other team to trade a late first round pick to stock the cupboards? Stevie Y the GM of the year.
      Everyone wants instant gratification. If that’s what you need then you better get a prescription for anxiety meads because you were warned, “there is going to be pain” LOL welcome to the new Toronto Maple Leafs, where the ShanaPlan rules!

  • Brooksterman

    Another defenseman almost identical to Percy Finn, and Valiev. I think they didn’t take Sprong or Kylington for the same reasons they kept dropping. Babcock and Leafs management have said over the course of this week they wanted good character guys who were team first and didn’t play and act like individuals. Plus one of the main attributes they were looking for in the players they picked and every one had was high hockey IQ and very smart players and Sprong and Kylington’s scouting reports seemed to suggest they didn’t have that.

  • Dermott is a strong pick for the Leafs I spent one season with him in Newmarket Jr A before going to Erie he is a strong skater that thinks defense first but isn’t afraid to look for offense he is honestly a step ahead of his opponents… when they think he’s cornered he manages to get out of trouble each and every time. He is someone that will give 100% every single night he’s great in the room brings a lot of character. So bash him now but when you see him play for Canada in Finland this Xmas trust me your tune will change