Nick Robertson's potential is being wasted on the the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it's fairly shocking to say the least.
Until this year, where despite having a solid season up to this point, Robertson is somehow being scratched in favour of Pontus Holmberg. What's even more surprising is Robertson had 2 goals in 3 games leading up to him being a healthy scratch. He now has goals in 3 of 4 games.
Against the Sharks on Tuesday night, he was inserted back into the lineup because Noah Gregor was sick. Robertson responded with a completely dominant game. He scored a goal, led all Leafs forwards in expected goals percentage with a 79% rating. The Leafs had 20 shot-attempts when he was on the ice vs the Sharks getting 6. (naturalstattrick.com).
Holmberg is a fine player for what he is, but he has just 2 assists in 11 games this year. And if you ask almost anyone, 99% of people will agree that Robertson is the superior player.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are wasting Nick Robertson and need to change that as soon as possible.
The Toronto Maple Leafs Are Wasting Nick Robertson
So far this year, Nick Robertson has 6 goals (all at even strength), 6 assists, and 12 points in 25 games. This pro-rates to a 39-point pace over a full 82-game season, which is extremely good for how much ice-time he gets.
He is doing this all while averaging just over 10 minutes a game and very little power play time.
Robertson has been great for the Leafs this year despite being given such a minor role on the team. Unfortunately for him, the Leafs top-6 is one of the most star-studded groups in the league, leaving almost no room for him to work his way up the roster.
While this is not Robertson's fault, there is a good chance he becomes a 50-60 point scorer if given the right opportunity. Even with his minor role on the team, Robertson is playing very well.
The Leafs third line consisting of Robertson, Calle Jarnkrok, and Max Domi has become beloved by many fans for their speed and strong secondary scoring, which the Leafs have lacked for a few years now.
Of course, the Leafs could trade Robertson and get a solid defenseman or even some draft picks in return for him, but we've seen the Leafs trade away young forwards such as Trevor Moore or Carter Verhaege, only for them to breakout with their new teams.
In short, the Leafs are in a pickle when it comes to Nick Robertson. On one hand, they have a young player who has been playing well with the team and is currently on a cheap contract. On the other hand, by failing to give him much of a role, there's a good chance he either requests a trade or even prices himself off the team.
Regardless, Robertson has been fun to watch this year and the Leafs should try and use him in a much more prominent role.