The Toronto Maple Leafs will have to deal with an incredibly thin blue line for most of the remainder of the season. The team announced today that Travis Dermott will be out for four weeks following the shoulder injury he sustained last night. Dermott was hit into the boards by Brad Malone of the Edmonton Oilers and immediately left the game in obvious pain.
Dermott will join Jake Gardiner on the shelf tonight as the Maple Leafs try to find a way around their defensive issues. Martin Marincin has been recalled to take his place while Justin Holl is expected to enter the lineup on the right side. The team is set to take on the New York Islanders in an important Eastern Conference matchup, and one that will see John Tavares make his return to Nassau Coliseum.
Originally selected 34th overall in 2015, Dermott has been quite the find for Toronto the past two seasons. Stepping into the lineup last year the mobile defender has proven he belongs at the NHL level and was given more responsibility this season. While he has still not completely earned the trust of head coach Mike Babcock, the 22-year old defenseman was already averaging more than 17 minutes a night on a team that has other experienced options on the left side. His future in Toronto looks bright, especially given Gardiner’s impending unrestricted free agency.
For now though Dermott will be out for almost the entire rest of the season. Four weeks from today would leave just five games left in the Maple Leafs’ season, meaning the young defenseman will need to get up to speed quickly if he is to play a role in the playoffs.