The Toronto Maple Leafs Need to Keep Nick Robertson in the Lineup

Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs
Montreal Canadiens v Toronto Maple Leafs / Claus Andersen/GettyImages

As the playoffs loom closer Sheldon Keefe and the Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to find their playoff lineup.

Finding a mix of forwards who can provide scoring outside of Matthews, Marner, and Nylander has been a challenge for most of the year for this Toronto Maple Leafs coaching staff.

One of the players that Sheldon Keefe doesn't seem to trust is Nick Robertson. Robertson has spent time in both the AHL as well as NHL and hasn't been able to solidify his spot in the lineup this season.

The 22-year-old has played 42 games, posting nine goals and 11 assists for 20 points. This might not look that impressive on the surface, but in half of Tyler Bertuzzi's ice-time, Robertson has one less 5v5 goal. At 5v5, Robertson is 4th on the Leafs in goals/60 minutes of ice-time, and 5th in points/60.

He also spent nine games with the Marlies where he scored five goals and six assists for 11 points.

Nick Robertson Needs a Longer Leash

The skilled left winger has been reported to be unhappy about his current situation in Toronto and was looked at as a trade chip heading into the deadline by many.

Robertson has a fantastic shot and it has been put on display a few times this season. However, this has not been enough to entice Keefe to get him playing more minutes. Robertson has averaged just under 11 minutes per game this season which ranks just above Ryan Reaves, Bobby McMann, and Pontus Holmberg (All box score statistics from

Keefe seems to not trust Robertson in the Leafs end where statistically he has done alright in his sheltered minutes. He has posted a goals against per 60 minutes of 2.11 and has won those minutes as he has posted a goals for per 60 of 2.97 (Statistics from

What confuses me is that the Leafs have struggled so much for goals at certain points this season. Robertson is somebody who has provided depth scoring for you and as a 22-year-old there are going to be some growing pains.

Based on the eye test, I agree that Robertson isn't the most reliable defensive forward. The problem with Keefe limiting Robertson to 11 minutes of ice time is that his potential may not be developed. The Leafs are in a win-now window so prospect development isn't what they're the most worried about however this is a player who can help you now.

Size is an issue for Robertson as the Leafs head into the playoffs. Robertson tends to get blown up more often than your average player but the shot and goal-scoring ability is something this coaching staff can't overlook.

Constantly in the playoffs, this fanbase tends to talk about goaltending or defensive woes this team has. The thing that is the most glaring in these recent playoff losses to me is how often the scoring dries up for this team.


Robertson is a player that can provide you goals but Keefe doesn't seem to want to give him much of a leash to get this young player cemented in the NHL.