‘He’s been steady’: Bruce Boudreau content with first glance at Travis Dermott’s play with the Canucks
Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
7 months ago
A deal made one day before the March 21st NHL trade deadline — combined with a trio of losses in previous days — had Canucks fans anticipating that management wouldn’t wait until the end of the season to cut a few threads loose.
Although that wasn’t necessarily the case, the first moves made by the newly appointed duo of general manager Patrik Allvin and president Jim Rutherford officially kicked off a new era of Canuck hockey — and one that was removed from acquiring veteran players in the back half of their career at double the price.
In fact, Allvin and Rutherford killed two birds with one stone by offloading defenceman Travis Hamonic’s two-year contract worth $3 million per year and retrieving their previous third-round pick from Ottawa.
If you were impressed that the Canucks walked away from that trade by dumping an injury-ridden depth defenceman previously on the chopping block (waivers), all while retaining none of his salary, then you were pretty happy to find out that was just the opening act.
Vancouver doubled down and subsequently traded the third-round pick they had from the Nate Schmidt trade with Winnipeg to the Toronto Maple Leafs for 25-year-old defenceman Travis Dermott.
The Newmarket, Ontario native spent his junior years as the assistant captain for the Erie Otters, playing alongside Connor McDavid and Alex DeBrincat while putting up consecutive 40-point seasons.
Drafted in the second round of the 2014 draft by his hometown team, Dermott went on to play two seasons in the AHL for the Toronto Marlies, winning the Calder Cup in his second year with the team.
From there on out, he patrolled the blueline as the Leafs’ third-line defenseman for five years with a slew of defensive partners. But by the end of his time in Toronto, minutes were especially hard to come by, if he even had the opportunity to play in a game at all.
So naturally, albeit an emotional journey, Dermott was more than motivated to contribute in any way possible to his new team, and management was thankful to get both younger and more versatile.
With the ability to play both the left and right sides, the Canucks gave themselves the space to slot him in on any given night, and allow time to make sure they’re happy with their top pairings.
Nevertheless, Allvin revealed that he had been eying up Dermott long before his time with Vancouver. “Our pro scouts and analytic department were excited about him,” said Allvin. “I followed him for a couple of years in Toronto.”
If so, then Allvin probably saw Dermott record his first NHL point against the Vancouver Canucks in Toronto on January 6, 2018. Talk about some serious foreshadowing.
On the other hand, Dermott admitted to being a Canucks fan growing up, going as far as having posters in his room.
“Vancouver has been my team in the past, I’ve always kind of had the Canucks in the back of my mind,” he said upon arriving in Vancouver.
So far, Dermott has drawn in for 15 games, recording one goal at a big time against the Ottawa Senators, when the playoff race was a little less out of reach for Vancouver. He followed that up with an assist in the following game against Minnesota.
As of right now, head coach Bruce Boudreau has the 6’0’’ defenceman playing on the right side with partner Brad Hunt, and the duo have done a good job keeping things under wrap.
The fact of the matter is, Dermott has yet to unlock any goal-scoring potential. Dating back to his 2011-12 U16 season, Dermott has scored a single-season high of eight goals. As a pro, that number has dwindled to four.
Although, in his short time with the team, he does have the highest shooting percentage amongst all defencemen. Being partnered with a no-nonsense, get the puck to the net type of defenceman like Hunt can only mean good things, especially with the speed that Dermott possesses to move the puck up and out of the zone.
And that is exactly what the Canucks relayed to Dermott. “[The coaches] want me to play my game and come out here with confidence,” said Dermott. “I think things will unfold just fine.”
In some parts, it’s paid off. Dermott has been on the ice for the majority of neutral zone and offensive faceoffs. He is experiencing the best on-ice save percentage of his career with .952. The high danger goals for outweigh the high danger goals against, and his corsi and goals-against average are fair for the ice time he is logging.
His role with the Canucks may not be as offensively demanding, but flying under the radar in a Canadian market means you have to be doing something right, and Boudreau agrees.
“He’s been steady,” explained Boudreau. “I think there’s room for growth, but I mean, he hasn’t hurt us. I’m glad to see he’s finally started getting a couple of points — it’s always that first point that breaks the ice. He’s been as solid as Brad Hunt and Kyle Burroughs when they have played that fifth, sixth [position].”
Dermott always seems to make the right play, and has a good first pass out of the zone. He moves the puck quickly, and that’s certainly a quality the Canucks wish more of their defencemen possessed.
Travis Dermott may not have the offensive prowess of someone like Quinn Hughes, but for what he was acquired for, he has done an excellent job relieving cap, logging minutes, and making the most of his opportunity for half of the pay.
Fans will have to wait until next season to see where he falls in the lineup in the final year of his contract with prospects like Jack Rathbone in the mix, but it’s been so far so good for Dermott with the Canucks.
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