The Skinny: The easy decisions are made. Now you have to weigh age, ability, merit, development path, and all in all making the club better. With Dermott and Borgman, both make an interesting case as to why they’re ready for the NHL. Conversely, both are open to arguments as to why they are not. For Borgman, without seeing his game up close it’s difficult to make claims, as we’ve noted. But if you look at the history of SHL ROY winning defenseman and you start salivate at the possibility of the rock he can become. Speaking of which, check out his Instagram page. The young Swede is absolutely ripped, it’s outrageous. As for Dermott, less words are needed below since we have the advantage of viewings and the organization has tipped it’s hand a little. Dermott is the favorite of the prospect pool to earn a job on the backend in 2017/18. He has the inside track but it’s all about performance and there is absolutely competition from the likes of Andreas Borgman.
Tale of the Stick Tape
21 years old
Entry Level Contract 2017 TOR
2016/17 45 gms 5 g 10 a +23
*Post season 10pts 14gms
SHL Rookie of the Year
After his season and playoffs on the way to an SHL Championship Borgman was heavily sought after and chose the potential and lure of Toronto. Where and when Borgman fits into the Leafs plans is uncertain. And with our limited viewings it’s even tougher to tell. But I will say this, Mike Babcock sure had a shit eating grin on at the Dreger Cafe talking about the FA’s the team was imminently adding. Fresh off of a viewing, too. The flavor description of the day is gets the puck up ice – makes good decisions – blah blah blue. Best I could come up with is a typical late bloomer as one reader put it who has read Swedish articles on him, but not your standard “upside” guy. This isn’t a shoot for the stars player. Borgman projects as a prototype for the good solid defender in the new NHL. Get the puck, make a play, think quick, fit your teams style and need. We need stability and accountability on the bottom end. A nice skill set to boot won’t hurt. Don’t need dynamic, Toronto wants a reliable player. But while it’s best to wait and see, the Leafs could very well have a steady, smart, young Swedish defenseman ready to assume a long term role on the blueline. Is his contract status and non-waiver tag combined with a need for seasoning peg Borgman for the Marlies, or did his signing come with an opportunity in the NHL? At his age he can really go either way, depending on readiness. Maybe it’s a prominent role with the Marlies or maybe it’s a spot in the Leafs 8D that’s the best place for him.
20 years old
34th overall 2015
Toronto Marlies AHL
59gms 5g 19a 24pts +9
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. But the key to it all really is most simply feel he’s going to make the team better, today.
Dermott is versatile in his skill set, anywhere from #2 to a #6 and be good at it. I don’t know where he’ll top out but I will tell you he can play in this league. There’s a very good chance Borgman can too.
Vote at @JudeMacLeafs and @LeafsHub
Winner faces Andrew Nielsen in the finals.