The Only Forward the Toronto Maple Leafs Should Be Signing

Toronto Maple Leafs Need To Re-Sign Nicholas Robetson
Toronto Maple Leafs Need To Re-Sign Nicholas Robetson / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages

It has been a big year for the Toronto Maple Leafs youth.

Nicholas Robertson, Bobby McMann, Matthew Knies, and Pontus Holmberg have all proven they are ready for a more significant role on next year's Toronto Maple Leafs.

We have also watched Easton Cowen, the Maple Leafs' 2023 first-round draft pick, dominate the Ontario Hockey League, winning the OHL's Most Outstanding Player and the OHL Playoffs Most Valuable Player awards.

Amidst the significant financial commitments to their 'core four,' the Toronto Maple Leafs youth will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in the team's success next season.

However, this offseason has been largely consumed by Mitch Marner trade speculation and the potential costs of re-signing Max Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi. It's crucial to redirect our attention to re-signing key restricted free agents like Timothy Liljegren and Nicholas Robertson, as their contributions are vital to the team's future.

The Only Forward the Toronto Maple Leafs Should Be Signing

While the return of Domi and Bertuzzi would be welcomed, it's important to consider the financial implications. Realistically, their costs may outweigh their contributions, especially if the front office effectively addresses the Maple Leafs defensive issues. However, this shouldn't be a cause for concern. Younger and cheaper players have the potential to be just as productive, if not more, than Domi or Bertuzzi, providing a sound financial strategy for the team.

I already mentioned a handful of guys the Maple Leafs have that could fill Bertuzzi and Domi's roles in the top six forwards. Still, the main reason I feel comfortable saying the Leafs can do without either Domi or Bertuzzi was Nicholas Robertson's development last year.

Robertson finished the year ranking second on the Maple Leafs in goals and fourth on the team in points per 60 minutes at five-on-five. Even more impressive is that Robertson ranked 16th in the NHL in goals per 60 minutes at five-on-five among players with 400 minutes on the ice.

Not only was Robertson one of the most productive goal scorers in the NHL on a per-60-minute basis, but he also had a tremendous individual impact on the defensive end, ranking 28th among forwards in takeaways per 60 minutes (via NaturalStatTrick).

Robertson was more productive than Bertuzzi in all of the aforementioned categories and was more productive than Domi in all of them except points per 60 minutes, but that is likely due to Domi spending the latter half of the year on a line with the best goal scorer in the NHL, Auston Matthews.

Despite Robertson's phenomenal production in limited minutes, the Maple Leafs should be able to bring him back for dirt cheap, compared to Domi and Bertuzzi, who are likely looking for a pay raise north of $4,000,000. Robertson's next contract will likely be between $1,500,000 and $2,000,000, which would leave the Leafs around $17,000,000 (via CapFriendly) in cap space to re-sign Liljegren, find a goalie to play in tandem with Woll and fill out the blue line with two defensemen.


The Toronto Maple Leafs must lean on these younger players to make a significant impact this season, and that starts with signing Nicholas Robertson and letting Domi and Bertuzzi find their raise somewhere else.