Toronto Maple Leafs: Nick Robertson Clearly Belongs in the NHL

Nicholas Robertson #89 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images)
Nicholas Robertson #89 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Andre Ringuette/Freestyle Photo/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs were dealt a set-back when Alex Edler’s viscous kneeing penalty resulted in Zach Hyman spraining his knee.

The Toronto Maple Leafs will be without their sparkplug forward for the next couple of weeks, though all said, things could have been worse.  That kind of dirty play can result in a season ending injury pretty easily, so the Leafs probably got a bit lucky.

And, with the injury comes a silver lining: the Leafs will get to give more ice time to their fringe players during what are essentially meaningless games, in order to come up with the best lineup for the playoffs.

Nick Foligno is set to enter the lineup after tonight’s game once his quarantine is over.  With Hyman out of the lineup, the Leafs can continue to try out Nick Robertson in a more prominent role that would otherwise be possible, and that might not be a bad thing.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Nick Robertson

Though much was weirdly made of him falling down a few times, Nick Robertson had a very good game on Wednesday night, making several noticeable plays and putting up some great stats.

Playing mostly on a line with John Tavares and William Nylander (with Galchenyuk on the top unit), Robertson acquitted himself very well in tough minutes.

Though he was inexplicably left off the power-play (the power-play has been crap and Robertson’s shot is a certified weapon) he played almost 13 minutes of 5v5 hockey posting a posting a 54% puck-possession rating, while the Leafs got 57% of the shots while he was on the ice.

The Leafs scored a goal, didn’t allow one, had a 71% expected goals rating and out chanced the Canucks 10 to 5 with Robertson on the ice.  He personally had two shots on goal and registered three scoring chances.  (All stats

That is a VERY good game for the young future star.

Overall, in five games so far with the Toronto Maple Leafs (four really, since in the first game he played just two minutes before being injured) Robertson has excellent numbers, highlighted by a 63% expected goals rating.

Next. Where Is Foligno Going to Play?. dark

It’s clear that Robertson is ready for the NHL, and given the Leafs insanely deep team, it should be very easy for the coach to place him in positions where he can succeed.  The Leafs should make him a regular from here on out because if he can stay above water (i.e be over 50% in the majority of on-ice stats) then his ceiling and offense should make him a much bigger factor in games than guys like Engvall, Kerfoot, Thornton or Simmonds, all of whom he should dress ahead of.