IMPACT: Hyman and Dermott
The Maple Leafs busy schedule continues this week as they have three more games to play. They host Vegas tonight, Philadelphia on Saturday and then off to Chicago to face the Hawks.
The boys are finally looking healthy as a whole which means a number of things. First and foremost we have Travis Dermott back in the lineup and you can see his play improving as he gets his toes wet in the 2019/20 season. As Dermott settles he will add in some much needed consistent defensive play. We’ve seen what Marincin and Ceci have to offer and where they haven’t been as atrocious as advertised, they certainly can use reduces minutes and roles with the team.
Dermott looks to have brought with him some enthusiastic spunk to the team. He looks like his frame has filled out a bit and he looks a bit tougher. As an added bonus he actually looks likes he’s gained a step with his foot speed and has always had a quality hockey IQ. He’s a welcomed addition to the back end and if his play can continue to improve we just may see Babcock shuffle some defenders on the Leafs depth chart.
Personally I’d love to see a combination of:
This will depend entirely upon Dermott’s development and how Babcock and the coaching staff view his worth and dependability. With that being said I’ve also been impressed with Justin Holl’s defensive play, very stable and it seems to me his play is only improving. We haven’t seen the last of my favorite defensive prospect in Sandin; the Leafs are letting him ripen in the AHL playing all the key roles.
What I think is we see Rielly and Barrie up their game playing together, both offensively and defensively. This will give them a boost offensively (Barrie especially) and I think it will be on the players themselves to commit to playing a better game defensively. Do you really think Barrie is less responsible defensively than Ceci? This reduced role for Ceci with Holl will help the Leafs defensive depth on the third pairing and with the way Dermott is playing he should be a perfect fit with Jake Muzzin.
It's only been a couple games for the Leafs defense since adding Dermott to the lineup, but he’s impressed me and in due time we may see Babcock adjust accordingly.
Zach Hyman is without question the most underrated Maple Leafs player. His work ethic is contagious and his undying determination of winning battles goes a long way. You know who misses Hyman the most? John Tavares and Mitch Marner.
This line is going to ignite like no other when Hyman get’s himself back to his standard of play. Nobody works harder than Zach and that’s why he’s one of Mike Babcock’s favorite players in the blue and white. Hyman may lack the fancy finish and not bury all of his chances, but I’ll tell you this; there is nobody who creates more chances than Hyman because of his tenacious work winning battles and beating other players to the puck.
The Leafs penalty kill has been iffy to begin this season and guess who’s coming to save the day? Mr. Hyman himself but of course. The winger will be returning the lineup this week and you can bet there will be some glory to follow.
Babcock and Dubas have some decisions to make as to who they keep up with the big boys if they are going to trade anyone or what the plan might be. It’s all about to unfold so take your bets!
The Leafs face a quality opponent in Vegas tonight and I’d imagine we see Fleury in net. The Leafs will have to keep an eye on Mark Stone as he’s the most dangerous player Vegas has to offer. Let’s hope the boys can stay out of the box tonight and put in a quality sixty minutes and make it three in a row.
Enjoy tonight’s game!
Thanks for reading.