The Toronto Maple Leafs Newest and Biggest Dilemma

Nick Robertson appears to have requested a trade
Nicholas Robertson Requests Trade From Toronto Maple Leafs
Nicholas Robertson Requests Trade From Toronto Maple Leafs / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages
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NHL Free Agency officially kicked off on Canada Day, and the Toronto Maple Leafs quickly got involved.

Shortly after free agency opened, the Toronto Maple Leafs announced that they would be signing Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Anthony Stolarz, who attended the Florida Panthers Stanley Cup parade over the weekend.

These initial free-agent acquisitions, coupled with the Maple Leafs extension of Max Domi and the signing of Chris Tanev after trading for his rights, have significantly reshaped the team's roster. The signing of Domi, in particular, led to the Leafs stepping out of the race for Tyler Bertuzzi, who secured a five-million-dollar deal with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Whether you like the moves the front office has made, the first day of free agency and the days leading up to it painted a much better picture of what this team will look like going forward. Before this weekend, there were tons of questions to be answered, were the Leafs going to trade for a goalie? How was the front office going to address the blueline? What did the team want to do with Domi and Bertuzzi? There was also all of the bogus Mitch Marner trade speculation.

Most of these questions have been answered. However, the Maple Leafs have one big dilemma: Nicholas Roberston.

A New Tough Decision The Toronto Maple Leafs Have To Make

Robertson and Liljegren were the Maple Leafs' two restricted free agents with whom the team needed to negotiate a deal. The team got a deal done with Liljegren quite fast, but it was reported that Robertson had asked the front office to be traded over the weekend.

Considering that Robertson has struggled to find a consistent spot on the Maple Leafs roster and that he has voiced this frustration on a couple of occasions over the last year, it is not shocking to hear that he is unhappy in Toronto and would like to be moved elsewhere, especially considering Robertson was one of the most productive players the Maple Leafs had at five-on-five and still struggled to get into the lineup.

At five-on-five last year, Robertson ranked 17th in the NHL in goals per 60 minutes among players with 300 minutes or more on the ice and 37th in points per 60 minutes. That is good for a guy who played with Ryan Reaves, Noah Gregor and David Kamph for most of the season, and you can understand why he might be upset that he only got into 56 games last season (via NaturalStatTrick).

Regardless of what Robertson wants, the Maple Leafs control his rights, and it appears that the front office still needs to be ready to move on.

It will be interesting to see how the Maple Leafs approach this situation, as teams will undoubtedly be interested in Robertson. Any team would love to get their hands on a guy who will be one of the best depth scorers in the NHL this season and has the potential to be a 40-goal scorer.

Despite Robertson's wishes, the Maple Leafs best course of action is to keep him and give him the consistent minutes he seeks. If given consistent minutes, Robertson could end up being one of the most underrated and best depth scorers in the NHL.

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At only 22 years old, he has so much room left to grow, and it would be a shame to watch the Leafs trade away this type of player unless the package is undeniable.