Dermott comfortable at Ricoh but much prefers ACC

Leafs' top defence prospect fighting for spot with big club at upcoming camp

Toronto Marlies defenceman Travis Dermott is very comfortable playing in front of the fans at Ricoh Coliseum during the 2017 Rookie Tournament.

The Newmarket, Ont., native played his home games last season on this very ice, recording five goals and 19 assists in his rookie season for the Maple Leafs American Hockey League affiliate.

But for the 21 year old, the ultimate goal is to suit up for the big league team as soon as possible.

“That’s what I’m going for and hopefully I achieve that,” he said, after a Sunday morning skate. “But if not I’ll just keep trying to get better and better and hopefully when I’m ready I’ll get that call.”

With the defensive struggles of the Leafs last year the team’s management may take a hard look at Dermott, who was second in points among Marlies defenceman last season.

Getting to play for the team he grew up cheering for makes this opportunity even more special for the 2015 draft pick.

Growing up in the Greater Toronto Area playing with the Marlies in his hometown has been a fun experience for Dermott.

“I know a lot of people, a lot of friends and family ask to come, ask me to get tickets,” he said. “It’s cool to be able to see them and get that support in the stands. It’s comfortable to see those guys here supporting me.”

A recent NHL.com piece ranked Dermot as Toronto’s third best prospect and No. 1 among defenceman. They predict that he will make his debut with the Leafs at some point this season.

If the former Team Canada junior star isn’t able to make the jump to the NHL. he will for now be content returning to Ricoh to fine tune his skills.

“Yah I’m comfortable in the rink”, he said. “I know a lot of the fans that come. It’s cool seeing some familiar faces that way.

“Being in the same rink it’s definitely comfortable.”