Travis Dermott is under contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, for now.
The defenseman and the club agreed to a new two-year contract worth $1.5 million per season, but he’s well aware that his team could change in less than two weeks.
“It’s always in the back of your mind but it’s something that I know I have zero control over so it’s kind of like if it happens, it happens,” Dermott said. “But you plan otherwise.”
Dermott’s immediate future is uncertain as the player is a potential candidate to be exposed in the upcoming NHL Expansion Draft. The Seattle Kraken will select one player from the Maple Leafs on July 21.
Signing a contract didn’t necessarily change anything for Dermott. A pending restricted free agent (RFA) prior to his new deal, the player could have still been exposed as RFA’s can still be selected.
It’s not clear if Dermott will be protected or if the Leafs already have a deal in place with the Kraken on who the expansion club will select.
“Nothing was assured I wasn’t going anywhere, that’s for sure,” Dermott said about his status before the Draft. “It’s kind of just, whatever happens, happens.”
Important to note: Although Seattle must select 30 players, only a minimum of 20 have to be signed to a contract. Should Seattle claim Dermott, he would help fill that quota should the club elect to seek prospects or unsigned talent elsewhere.
The 24-year-old Dermott scored two goals and added four assists in 51 regular-season games with the Maple Leafs during the 2020-21 season. He primarily skated on the team’s bottom pair but was elevated at times to the middle pair as needed.
Dermott, a sixth-round pick by the Leafs in the 2015 NHL Draft, signed his qualifying offer this past season, a deal that carried a cap hit of $874,125.
He’ll earn $1.25 million this season and $1.75 million next season, according to PuckPedia.com. He’ll remain a restricted free agent at the end of his new contract, at which point the Leafs would need to tender an offer of $1.75 million to retain his rights.
After Toronto’s latest signing, they have 17 players under contract with approximately $9.355 million in remaining cap space, per Puck Pedia.
Dermott played in just three out of Toronto’s seven playoff games against the Montreal Canadiens in 2021. He was a healthy scratch in four games as the club made room for Rasmus Sandin. He switched roster spots before an injury to Jake Muzzin forced both to enter the playoff lineup simultaneously.
Should Dermott remain with the club, he hopes to be a part of a group that can get over their most devastating playoff defeat yet, a first-round upset to the Canadiens.
“You lose and lose and think ‘God I don’t want that to happen again,'” Dermott said.
With a shorter-than-usual offseason, many of the team, including Dermott have already begun their usual summer training.