Nick Robertson Is Going to Become a Star for the Toronto Maple Leafs

Nov 28, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Nicholas Robertson (89) skates
Nov 28, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Nicholas Robertson (89) skates / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

The most impatient and/or poorly informed Toronto Maple Leafs fans are ready to move on from Nick Robertson, but the smart and patient ones know what's what.

And what's what is that Nick Robertson is going to be a star.

You don't have a motor and a shot like him and fail.

It just doesn't happen.

Also, every other player besides NIck Robertson since 1990 who has scored as much as he scored in the OHL, at the age he did it, has scored 40 goals in the NHL.

Oh, and he's already producing at a first line rate.

The Leafs would be idiots to move on from a 22 year-old making almost no money who can score like he can at the NHL level.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Re-Sign Nick Robertson

Robertson is a penda RFA and the Leafs would be smart to try to go with a higher salary than he has currently earned, but give it to him for a long enough term that would it potentially give them some team-frindly years.

This season Robertson has established himself as an NHL player, and even when he was sent to the minors he was told that it was due to numbers and not because of how he played.

The cliched view is that he needs to be in the top six to be effective, but that is nonsense when you consider he's never ever done that in the NHL. Scoring is necessary in the bottom half of the lineup, and the days when it was necessary to be a grinder to play successfully there have been gone for over 20 years.

Eventually Robertson is going to secure a top-six spot on an NHL team and become a star, but for now he's not a core member of the team, although having non-core members with his talent level is how teams parlay their potential into Stanley Cup Championships.

Robertson's nine goals and 20 points don't look that impressive on first glance, but they are actually extremely impressive.

Eight of Robertson's nine goals have all come at 5v5 - Mitch Marner has 16 5v5 goals in just less than double the ice-time and playing with way better players.

Robertson has 8 5v5 goals, Bertuzzi has 10, Tavares has 11, Knies has 12 and all have played way more than Robertson. Robertson's goals-per-minute of ice-time is better than all these players, and it's tied with Marner and McMann. (stats

On the Leafs, only Matthews and Nylander score significantly more goals at 5v5 than Robertson does. Robertson is over 2 points per 60 at 5v5 which is a 1st line scoring rate. He ranks sixth on the Leafs and is ahead of Tavares, Knies and Bertuzzi.

Also, Roebrtson's on-ice numbers are solid. When he's been on the ice, the Leafs have won his minutes 22-18. They have a 50% expected goals rating, and they get more shots, scoring chances and dangerous scoring chances than the opposition.

Notably, whenever he's paired with his most common linemate, Max Domi, the Leafs get 54% of Expected Goals, which is absolutely fantastic.

After final analysis what we have is a 22 year old rookie trying to break into the league on one of the NHL's best teams, who has been one of that team's most proficent scorers, and who is winning his minutes for about the league minimum.

So why do people want to get rid of him? Why do I hear talk of "fresh starts" and "getting something for him while he stil has value"? I am honestly asking because that doesn't match what I am seeing or what the stats (i.e the evidence) says.


Nick Robertson is on track to be a star. The only question is if it's going to happen in Toronto or if he's going to be the next in a seemingly endless line of players the Leafs gave up on before another team reaped the rewards of a late-blooming star. Expect a big spring from him.