The Maple Leafs’ defence corps is done.
The club announced on Friday afternoon that defenceman Travis Dermott has signed a one-year contract extension for $874,125 US.
There’s no question it’s a smart deal for the Leafs, who will have to do some salary-cap stickhandling once the 2020-21 regular season starts.
The signing comes two days after the Leafs and Ilya Mikheyev avoided salary arbitration, with the winger signing a two-year contract with an annual average value of $1.645-million.
With Dermott on board — the 23-year-old is getting a slight raise after he had an AAV of $863,333 the past three seasons — the lone Leaf without a contract is winger Joey Anderson, who is a restricted free agent. Anderson was acquired in the Andreas Johnsson trade with the New Jersey Devils earlier in October.
Dermott had 11 points in 56 games with the Leafs last season, his second full year with the NHL club after helping the Toronto Marlies win the Calder Cup in 2018.
Still, there’s no guarantee how Dermott will fit into the Leafs lineup in the coming season. With the additions of TJ Brodie, Zach Bogosian and Mikko Lehtonen to complement Morgan Rielly, Jake Muzzin and Justin Holl, the pressure will be on Dermott and Rasmus Sandin to earn a regular spot. Also in the mix will be Martin Marincin, Timothy Liljegren and Calle Rosen.
The signing of Dermott puts the Leafs slightly over the $81.5-million salary cap, but that’s with a roster of 23 players. General manager Kyle Dubas has said the team might go with a roster of 20 players once the season starts, shuttling players to and from the Marlies when required.
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