Tale of the Stick Tape
20 years old
34th overall 2015
Toronto Marlies AHL
59gms 5g 19a 24pts +9
Let’s keep this simple and to the point. Sheldon Keefe, Dermott’s coach last year, called him the best 20 year old defenseman in the AHL or at least he can’t think of any better. Kyle Dubas echoed that sentiment and this unabashed praise isn’t the norm for the current organization. Still, an honest assessment and one the General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs Lou Lamoriello must have taken into consideration when he said at the end of this season a Marlie defenseman was ready to graduate. You don’t need tea leaves to figure out who Uncle Lou meant. I’ve watched Dermott a ton his draft year in Erie and a bit less his next year but enough. Same guy there as I see with the Marlies, and will be the same guy when he arrives with the Leafs. I can’t think of any way else to put it, Travis Dermott is a hockey player in every sense. He plays for the love of the game and with passion. He plays with smarts and he plays you tough. Everybody wants a Travis Dermott. And we have one.
22 years old
Drafted his 2nd time through in the 3rd round
Toronto Marlies AHL
49gms 3g 10a 13pts
Let’s face it, this is a tough draw. Valiev is also a player I can offer some viewing experience and we’ve talked with Rinat for the site. Fun loving, almost a mischievous soul, Valiev too plays with passion and fire. However at 22 Valiev suffered a bit of a set back year. Injuries, scratches, some feel his call up late the year prior may not have been for the best. Possibly thinking it was for keeps, Valiev hasn’t really been the same since. I once had him pegged for the NHL. Now it’s an unknown for me. I think Valiev needs to mature on the ice in many respects but if he can harness his emotions and get back on track, much like a Josh Leivo after a rough sophomore campaign, Valiev will get back to where he belongs and that’s in the discussion for full time work in the bigs. But it’s up to him to impress.
So who is it on your depth chart? Dermott or Valiev
Cast your vote at @JudeMacLeafs & @LeafsHub