Nick Robertson Deserves Playoff Roster Spot But Won't Get One

Nick Robertson has been fighting to stay in the Maple Leafs lineup all year, he has been one of the most productive offensive players the team has had all year, but with the emergence of Pontus Holmberg, Bobby McMann and the newly acquired Connor Dewar it is almost certain that Robertson will get left off the Maple Leafs playoff roster despite being the Maple Leafs fourth most productive goal scorer at five-on-five.

Toronto Maple Leafs Nicholas Robertson Going To Struggle To Crack Playoff Lineup
Toronto Maple Leafs Nicholas Robertson Going To Struggle To Crack Playoff Lineup / Chris Tanouye/Freestyle Photo/GettyImages

Nick Robertson has been fighting to be an everyday player on the Maple Leafs roster for three years now.

But between injuries and an abundance of competition in the Maple Leafs top six forwards, the former 2019 second-round draft pick has yet to find a consistent place on this team. This isn't really his fault - the Leafs have been a top team ever since he was drafted and have one of the deepest rosters at forward in the NHL.

Again to start this season, Robertson did not crack the opening night roster but was quickly called up to the NHL after posting 11 points in his first nine games in the AHL this season. Since then he played 41 games before being sent back down to the Toronto Marlies a week before the trade deadline to give the Maple Leafs more roster flexibility.

This last stint did not last long, as he was recalled two days after the trade deadline. Although this trip to the minors did not last long, Robertson was not shy to voice his frustrations with the organization.

Despite the small sample size as Robertson has battled injuries most of his career, and has split a lot of time between the Maple Leafs and Marlies, since 2021-22 Robertson has tallied 41 points in 39 games in the AHL demonstrating he is too talented to be stuck in the minors.

Nick Robertson Deserves Playoff Roster Spot, But Won't Get One

At the start of the season, the Maple Leafs depth looked a lot different and was quite thin. But with the emergence of Pontus Holmberg and Bobby McMann the Maple Leafs depth wingers have never looked better.

McMann has really stood out and pretty much seems to have locked down a roster spot that would otherwise likely go to Robertson. Holmberg on the other hand kills penalties and offers the kind of versatility that coaches love, even if he's not anywhere near Robertson's overall talent level.

On top of that, the Maple Leafs are waiting for Mitch Marner and Calle Jarnkrok to return from injury, who will both 100% be on the playoff roster.

The Leafs will have the Core Four, Bertuzzi, Domi, Kampf, Jarkrok, McMann, and Knies in the lineup for sure. That leaves two spots for Dewar, Holmberg, Reaves, Gregor and Robertson.

Out of that group of five, it looks like Keefe will want the defense and versitility of Dewar and Holmberg. However, Robertson has scored at a first line rate 5v5 this year (over 2 points/60) and his ability to score will get him into the lineup eventually.

Although Robertson likely does not make the initial playoff roster, he may still get a chance to play. We have seen it in years past when the Maple Leafs struggled offensively in the playoffs. If this happens again, Robertson will be the first player Keefe turns to.

There is a guarantee that the Leafs will lose a game and the coach will want to shake-up the roster. That is when Robertson will get his chance.

Robertson is a huge part of the Leafs future. He's making about the league minimum, winning his minutes and scoring at a first line rate. He will get his shot.

He will be a restricted free agent at the end of the year, but he isn't going to demand a huge raise and should continue to help the Leafs on a team-friendly contract.

At the end of this season, Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, T.J. Brodie, and Ilya Samsonov are all set to become free agents. The Maple Leafs will once again have more than 20 million dollars in cap space to work with this offseason.


They will need to spend the bulk of this money addressing their top four defensemen and so bringing back Robertson will be an easy slam-dunk of a move.