If there’s one thing everybody can agree on, it’s that everybody is relieved that Maple Leafs’ defenceman Travis Dermott got a chance to have some playing time during the NHL Rookie Tournament Sunday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum.
After missing out the first game against the Montreal Canadiens with an illness, Dermott suited up and had four shots on net in the Leafs 4-3 loss against the Ottawa Senators.
Dermott, who spoke with the media post game, felt a lot better on the ice despite the loss.
“I thought I made some decent passes. My offensive play was, I think, okay and stepping up and interrupting their rush a couple of times,” said Dermott.
He also had the opportunity to play with the 2017 first round draft pick of the Maple Leafs, Timothy Liljegren, and spoke highly of his new teammate.
“[He’s] an awesome player, I think anyone can see that. I can learn from him and hopefully, I can teach him a few things as well.”
Liljegren also spoke with the media and echoed Dermott’s words regarding getting some playing time together.
“I liked it a lot. He’s a good defenceman. We’ve talked a lot and I think we’ve had great chemistry out there,” said Liljegren.
Toronto Marlies head coach Sheldon Keefe, who had the opportunity to coach the Maple Leafs rookies this past weekend with his staff, felt that having Dermott in the lineup was a huge advantage for the team in their matchup.
“He’s a really good player,” said Keefe, post-game. “When he’s in, with his abilities and his experience, he makes the whole group feel a bit better. He eats a lot of minutes and makes people feel comfortable. I thought he did a lot of good things for us.
“[Dermott]’s really learned to use the skill set that he has, skates really well and he’s strong. Because of that, he’s able to play really tight, not give much space and not give an opportunity for the other team to get going.”
With a year of playing at the professional level, Dermott knows that his confidence is what helped him grow as time went on.
“It’s all been confidence for me in this past year. Getting that AHL year under my belt and getting confident in my playing and knowing what I can do instead of being that shy little rookie. Hopefully, can take that to camp this year and go forward.”