After a season wiped out by concussion-related symptoms, Travis Dermott is now unlikely to be qualified by the Canucks
Photo credit:© Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
22 days ago
Travis Dermott’s career with the Vancouver Canucks is now, in all likelihood, at an end.
And it’s been a bit of a strange one from the get-go.
The trade that brought Dermott to Vancouver was the second ever made by the new managerial regime of POHO Jim Rutherford, GM Patrik Allvin, and Co. At the time, a third round pick seemed like a fair price to pay for a 25-year-old defender with potential who could play both sides, in a vacuum at least.
But the new front office’s first trade ever had occurred just hours before, and that transaction involved the improbable dumping of the overpaid and overstayed Travis Hamonic for a different third round pick.
To go from couping their way into a third rounder, only to spend another third rounder almost immediately, left some fans a little disappointed, which means that Dermott was fighting a bit uphill to impress after joining the Canucks.
Unfortunately, he never really got the chance.
Dermott got in 17 games for the Canucks to close out 2021/22, notching two points and moving around the ice noticeably well, but largely unable to get into much of a groove as of yet. That groove was perhaps expected to come after a full offseason and training camp with his new organization, but then disaster struck.
Dermott suffered a concussion in what at first seemed like an innocuous collision during a preseason practice. The escalating symptoms from that concussion kept him out of the lineup until December 29, when he returned after a brief conditioning stint…though not for long.
Even upon returning to the lineup, Dermott continued to experience symptoms. After just 11 games through December and January, he pulled himself off the ice again, and this time for good.
As Dermott told Daniel Wagner, “Your play is crutched so hard when you’re feeling that way — that you’re not feeling fully safe out there. You can’t make the plays that make you the hockey player that you are. It comes to a point where you’ve got to take your confidence and ego out of it and just take care of yourself.”
And take care of himself he did. Dermott described focusing on recovery, rather than return, and in pushing his off-ice regimen to new heights in the hopes of getting his head fully healthy again. He’s optimistic both about the summer ahead and what might come after it, even if that’s not a qualifying offer from the Vancouver Canucks.
But before we get to that, let’s review the numbers from Dermott’s 2022/23 season that largely wasn’t.
The Counting and Advanced Stats
It must be noted that Dermott was never playing at 100% at any point in 2022/23, so his stats can’t truly be considered a reflection of his quality as a player. Nevertheless, they were not particularly encouraging.
As a Maple Leaf, Dermott had occasionally played in the top-four, and once paced for about 25 points in the 2018/19 season. This year, he managed just a single goal in heavily-sheltered minutes, and still wound up letting in far more goals than he was on the ice for.
|Corsi %||Shot Control||xG%||Chance Control||High-Danger Chance Control|
From NaturalStatTrick, for even-strength play
By the point at which Dermott briefly returned to the Canucks’ lineup, they were in the midst of some serious doldrums, which had a detrimental effect on everyone’s advanced analytics. Unfortunately for him, Dermott exited the lineup shortly after Rick Tocchet took over the bench.
Even then, however, Dermott’s fancy stats were noticeably poor, especially that 40% control of scoring chances and that bottom-tier even-strength Corsi.
It’s especially worth noting that these results came with a low quality of competition, mainly bottom-six opponents.
And it could be argued that Dermott was at least attempted to be further sheltered by partnering him with some of the Canucks’ steadiest defenders. He spent about 40% of his even-strength ice-time with Luke Schenn and another 15% of it with Ethan Bear.
Neither pairing was particularly effective, though Dermott did receive better results alongside Bear. Few Canucks have looked worse alongside Schenn.
From Dobber’s Frozen Tools
And then, that was it. Before Dermott could really get his feet under him, play-wise, his health put him back on the IR, and pushed him firmly out of the Canucks’ probable future plans.
The Story Behind the Numbers, and Why Dermott Won’t Be Back
It sounds a bit silly to suggest that the Canucks “can’t afford” to re-sign Dermott after such a difficult season, but it’s kind of true. Here’s why:
Dermott is a pending restricted free agent. To retain his rights, and prevent him from becoming an unrestricted free agent, the Canucks owe him a qualifying offer of one year at $1.75 million.
That’s already too much for what Dermott currently brings to the table, and one has to think that, if such an offer were made, he’d take it in an instant.
With Quinn Hughes, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Tyler Myers, and Filip Hronek already on the books, the Canucks need to be efficient with their bottom-pairing spending, especially if they hope to still improve the blueline on top of what they’ve got. There’s just no way to justify paying Dermott a million dollars more than a Christian Wolanin or a Kyle Burroughs for what might ultimately be equal, or even lesser, returns.
So, Dermott must go unqualified, and thus become a UFA.
Now, it is entirely possible that Dermott agrees to a lesser contract with the Canucks sometime before, or even sometime after, he goes unqualified. But then he’s got to take a serious look at opportunity, and it seems clear to us that there’s not really a spot for him right now and even less chance of one opening in the future.
It would probably be best for both parties if Dermott moved on this summer and attempted a fresh start somewhere else.
Dermott’s inability to make an impact in Vancouver was through no fault of his own, and his health has to remain a priority from here on out. Hockey comes secondary. But hockey is also a business, and when it comes to making this business decision, it’s an easy one.
Dermott becomes a UFA this offseason.
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