The Toronto Maple Leafs Aren't Good Enough to Scratch Nick Robertson

In fact, scratching him is one of the dumbest things an NHL team has ever done. Ever. It is completely inexcusable and indefensible at this point.
Toronto Maple Leafs v St Louis Blues
Toronto Maple Leafs v St Louis Blues / Dilip Vishwanat/GettyImages
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The Toronto Maple Leafs Aren't Good Enough to Scratch Nick Robertson

The Leafs have the 7th best power-play percentage and have scored the 13th most power-play goals in the NHL this year.

Considering the players they have at their disposal, and that they are the NHL's top scoring 5v5 team, that is inexcusable. Nick Robertson averages 45 seconds on the power-play per game, and gets the 11th most PP time on the team per game, if you ignore Steeves and Klingberg - 13th if you don't.

Considering that Nick Robertson scores at a first-line rate, and is the Leafs 3rd most frequent goal scorer on a per-minute of ice-time basis, it's pretty silly to keep him out of the lineup or off the power-play.

The Leafs power-play could be better, and if it was, they would be a better team that wins more. There isn't much of a bigger advantage in hockey than when other teams are afraid to take penalties against you.

Any player the Leafs play ahead of Robertson lacks his game-breaking skills. Nick Robertson doesn't need to see the ice when the Leafs are defending a lead or taking defensive zone faceoffs, so therefore he is unlikely to hurt the team much with the things he's bad at.

However, even if you just played him on the fourth line in the limited role of Ryan Reaves, Robertson's ability to win games just by making the power-play that much more dangerous with his elite shot would be enough to get him into the lineup.

But he's so much more than that. Goal scoring is the hardest thing to do in hockey and he does it well. Robertson is younger and more talented than Bobby McMann, who is the only one who stands between Robertson and Matthews on the Leafs goals per 60 minutes rankings.

Robertson helps the Leafs lean into their biggest strength (5v5 goal scoring) and he could improve what should be their biggest weapon (the power-play).

He had 2 goals in his last 3 games before being scratched in the last game the Leafs played. He has 3 goals in his last 6 games. 11 of his 12 goals on the season are 5v5.

He's scoring at a 20 goal pace from the 3rd line with no power-play time, playing sporadically. William Nylander scores less per minutes than Robertson and has 40 goals, so that should give you some idea of what Robertson's ability is.

Out of players who have played at least 500 minutes, Robertson ranks 21st in the NHL in scoring per minute. And the Leafs play him reluctantly.

The Leafs also win his 5v5 minutes and he has a 50% xGoals rating, so he doesn't hurt the team at all.