The Toronto Maple Leafs have selected defenceman Travis Dermott of the Erie Otters with the 34th overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft.

Dermott is a solidly-built, two-way, left-handed rearguard who was the Erie Otters’ top defenceman this season. There will be some debate about how much his offensive numbers – 45 points in 61 games in the regular season, 17 points in 20 in the playoffs — were inflated by the stars on that team.

Mark Hunter’s Take

“I’ve seen this young man play a lot. Good skill, good compete. I’ve seen him play in the playoffs, when there’s even more intensity to the games, and he seemed to thrive on the situation. Our group thought it was a real good pick and we’re happy to have him aboard the Toronto Maple Leafs.”

Travis Dermott Scouting Report

McKeen’s Draft Guide (subscribe here):
Skating with impressive company, he was the Erie Otters best, most reliable puckmover and first pass specialist .. stepped up in the playoffs, leading all OHL defenceman in playoff scoring with 17 points in 22 games (22-5-12-17) .. often works the point as the lone defenceman on a potent power play .. 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 is 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 some 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.

Travis Dermott Rankings

  • #58 by ISS Hockey
  • #30 by McKeen’s Hockey
  • #36 by Future Considerations
  • #46 by NHL Central Scouting
  • #42 by Bob McKenzie

Travis Dermott’s Scouting Report provided by Brock Otten of OHL Prospects.

Travis Dermott Strengths

  • While his offensive skill level isn’t flashy, he gets the job done by making a great first pass, being confident with the puck, and running the point on the power play effectively.
  • Defensively, he’s incredibly reliable. He rarely gets beat to loose pucks and is almost always in the right position. He also blocks shots with the best of them.
  • As the year went on, Dermott played more and more aggressively in his own end and really seems to excel when he’s engaged physically.

Travis Dermott Criticisms

  • Is he the biggest defender available this year (at 5’11)? No. Is he the best offensively? No. But his intelligence at both ends, overall mobility, and high intensity level make him a near sure bet to be an NHL defender.
  • From McKeen’s Draft Guide (buy here): 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. 

The Verdict

  • Easily one of the most underrated prospects for this year’s draft. He’s the number one defender for the top team in the Western Conference and that has to count for something. He was also one of the best defenders in this year’s OHL playoffs, again something that deserves recognition.
  • The battle for top defender from the OHL was a close one this year, but I give the slight nod to Dermott because of how well rounded he is and because I believe he’s going to be a longtime NHL player.

Travis Dermott Career Notes

  • Drafted in round 9, 164th overall, by Erie Otters in the 2012 OHL Priority Draft.
  • Named to the OHL First All-Rookie Team in 2013-14.
  • Set Otters record for assist streak by a defenseman at 7 games between December 28, 2014 and January 11, 2015, recording 12 helpers in that span.
  • Recorded 17 points in 19 games in the 2015 playoffs.
  • Ranked fifth by McKeen’s among offensive defencemen in the 2015 draft; compared to Justin Faulk.

Travis Dermott Interview

Courtesy of The Pipeline Show:

On how he ended up as a defenceman originally:
I see the ice a little better than some other guys, so being back there and quarterbacking the powerplay and breaking plays out of our zone is kind of like second nature to me.

On describing himself as a player:
I consider myself to be an offensive defenceman. I manned the powerplay this year with big names like McDavid and Strome, so that was good. I love playing the defensive side of the game as well, but it’s the offensive game that really gets me excited.

On whether he considers himself more of an offensive or defensive defenceman:
Throughout the amateur career I’ve always been an offensive guy. I’ve been on the powerplay most of my career so far. Last year I played second unit, but this year I got the bump up to the first one so that was an exciting opportunity.

On the biggest difference from his rookie season to his draft season:
Probably just confidence. Coming in my first year, seeing all these big, skilled guys, it’s hard to adjust quickly. Coming into my second year, I knew that I was going to be more skilled than I was last year, so I was going to be able to make more plays and be able to jump into the rush more than I could last year. Just coming into this year with more confidence was a big boost for me.

On going from a low OHL draft pick to a projected pick in the top two rounds of the NHL draft:
I’ve sort of been an underdog my whole life, getting drafted into the ninth round of the OHL draft. I didn’t think I was ninth round deserving, so it’s nice showing people I can do better than that. Coming out and having an opportunity to get drafted – some people are saying first round and stuff – it’s nice to hear that stuff, but I guess it’s up to the team, whatever team wants me and whatever team needs me.

On practicing against McDavid every day:
It helps a lot. I think everyone gets a little nervous or excited when you have McDavid coming down on you in practice, but it’s great for learning. You’re playing against an NHL-calibre player, so it’s kind of nice getting to play up to that level and seeing how you cope with it.

On comparables:
I’d say a guy like Morgan Rielly. I watch him. We’re kind of the same size, same stock, so I feel like I could play like him if I make it to the NHL.

On strengths and areas in need of improvement:
I feel like skating is a strong point of my game. I’ve worked hard on it a lot throughout the year.
Probably just getting stronger and faster. Progressing through the levels of hockey, it’s really important to make sure you’re strong and quick so those big, strong guys don’t have an edge on you. I guess just getting stronger and faster; getting stronger to make sure you’re not getting pushed around in the corners.

Travis Dermott Stats

2011-12York Simcoe Express Mn Mdgt AAAETAMMHL1927912|
2012-13Newmarket HurricanesOJHL531141524|Playoffs244111514
2013-14Erie OttersOHL67325284535|Playoffs140558-4
2014-15Erie OttersOHL61837455323|Playoffs1951217208
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