Leafs’ defensive depth “will force guys to do their best”

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When training camp kicks off for the Toronto Maple Leafs, Travis Dermott will see new faces in his post pool.

This is true for each new season, a reality of trades, free will and the global business side of sport.

But it’s not just that some numbers and nameplates will be different next season; the Maple Leafs believe they have more depth at the back, which should create some healthy competition.

“Yeah, that’s exciting,” Dermott said Saturday during a Zoom call with reporters. “I mean, I always love a competition so we’ll see how the camp goes every time it starts.

“… It’s going to cause the guys to push each other, and really force the guys to be their best version of themselves and be really prepared in time for camp. ”

Tyson Barrie and Cody This came out, but in their place are TJ Brodie, Mikko Lehtonen and Zach Bogosian, all acquired through free agency. Expanded roles could also be planned for youngsters Rasmus Sandin (2018 first round pick) and Timothy Liljegren (2017 first round pick).

Dermott, who placed fourth among the 2019-20 Maple Leafs returning defensemen on the ice, won’t take his minutes for granted. He knows what is at stake.

“I know how I’m playing at my best so I think that’s what they expect of me,” he said. “Anything less, so there are guys biting my heels to get in and steal my job, so my job is to come and play my game and do exactly what they want me to do. “

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