5 Biggest Questions Surrounding the Toronto Maple Leafs

TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 07: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his game winning goal at 13:10 in overtime to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 07, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 07: Auston Matthews #34 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates his game winning goal at 13:10 in overtime to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3 in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Qualification Round prior to the 2020 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Arena on August 07, 2020 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /
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Toronto Maple Leafs
Jul 13, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nick Robertson   Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /

#3. Will Nick Robertson Play Meaningful Minutes?

Nick Robertson is in a weird spot right now. He’s too good for the CHL but too young for the AHL. The Leafs also have so much forward depth that slotting him into the line-up seems like a tough task as well.

As of right now, Robertson is the 13th forward. Instead of playing on the fourth-line, which may not be the best spot for his style of game, he’ll most likely be stuck on the “Taxi Squad” to start the season. I’ve been torn between what I think would be the best option for Robertson heading into the 2020-21 NHL Season.

Robertson is a goal-scorer and a small-sized creative winger. He’s the type of player that should play with other offensive minds and is better suited in the top-six, instead of the bottom-six. So, would you rather take someone like Joe Thornton, Jimmy Vesey or Ilya Mikheyev out of the top-six for Robertson every night, or would it be best for him to wait his turn?

At this moment, if Robertson comes into the line-up, I think he needs to play in the top-six, so I wouldn’t put him on the fourth-line. Instead, I think the Leafs made the right move to put Alexander Barabanov in the fourth-line left-wing position instead. He’s a 26-year-old player with much more experience and someone who can grind. He’s not a flashy winger, so he’ll be better suited for a dump-and-chase type of game that the fourth-line brings.

For this point in his career, I don’t think the “Taxi Squad” is such a terrible place. Obviously, you want him to play games, but being apart of the team everyday and seeing what pro’s like Matthews and Thornton do every night will only make him better. He’ll be able to learn from them and still practice with the team daily. He’ll definitely play a few NHL games this season, but I don’t think it’ll be more than enough to make an impact on the team.