The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without one of their young defensemen when the 2019-20 season gets underway. Travis Dermott is scheduled to undergo shoulder surgery on Friday, and will be out a minimum of six months.
Dermott is now the second Maple Leafs player expected to miss the start of the season, as Zach Hyman’s knee surgery also carried a six month recovery period. Both releases also carried the qualifier of “at least,” meaning that the team may be looking at a prolonged absence for one or both. While Hyman will leave a hole on the left side of the Toronto forward group, Dermott’s injury may be even more impactful given the team’s lack of depth on the blue line.
Since his arrival on the Maple Leafs during the 2017-18 season, Dermott’s play has been exemplary and at times deserving of even more responsibility. With Jake Gardiner and Ron Hainsey heading towards unrestricted free agency this summer it appeared as though he would get that chance, but he’ll now have to battle just to get back on the ice as soon as possible. Toronto meanwhile will have to figure out a way of filling their defense group out of the group of fringe NHL talents and prospects, or find a solution on the open market. Calle Rosen, Rasmus Sandin, Andreas Borgman and the recently signed Teemu Kivihalme can all play Dermott’s natural left side, but none of them have even his 101 games of NHL experience.