Why the Toronto Maple Leafs Can't Trade Nick Robertson

The Toronto Maple Leafs Need Nick Robertson
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Two
Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Two / Richard T Gagnon/GettyImages
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It was reported by Chris Johnston that Toronto Maple Leafs forward Nick Robertson has requested a trade out of Toronto.

The Toronto Maple Leafs extended a qualifying offer to Robertson which was $813 thousand dollars against the cap and still own his RFA rights (All salary statistics from PuckPedia.com).

The 22-year-old played 56 games last season, scoring 14 goals and recording 13 assists for 27 points with the Leafs. (All stats from NHL.com).

With Brad Treliving not adding to the forward core so far and losing Bertuzzi, they will need Robertson to give them valuable and productive minutes.

The Toronto Maple Leafs Need Robertson

Last year Robertson was only given an average of 11:23 time on ice per game by Sheldon Keefe. The only forward who was given fewer minutes than Robertson was Ryan Reaves. With those limited minutes and no powerplay time, scoring 14 goals is extremely impressive.

With Bertuzzi leaving, the Leafs have lost 21 goals in the lineup and you also can't expect Matthews to score 69 goals in back-to-back years. With both those points, you must find goals from different guys this year to make up for what you lost.

If you give Robertson a top-six role this year and maybe a little bit of powerplay time I can easily see him scoring at least 20 goals this upcoming season. He has a great shot and just needs to be given more opportunity.

Some of the criticism of Robertson is he has poor decision-making and tends to get hurt a lot. While both of those are fair criticisms a valid point is that you have stapled a 22-year-old player to the bench. How is he supposed to develop a better defensive game or at least see if he can if you are giving him no opportunity to actually do so?

Ultimately, the Leafs have always made the playoffs fairly comfortably. When you have a game against Anaheim on a Tuesday night in February I want to see Berube give Robertson more of a chance. You don't need to run your big guys out there for 22 minutes a night in a nothing game during the dog days of the season. Those are where young players learn and develop which will be valuable for guys like Knies, Robertson and Cowan if he does make the team this year.

If the Leafs fold and trade Robertson that is another hole in this lineup you need to fill. He is 22 and has only played 87 games in the league. You can't get bullied by a guy who hasn't proven anything in the league. It's time for this front office to win a contract dispute. Either explain to him the opportunity he is going to have here next year or see if he is serious about sitting out a full year of development.

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His trade value can't be that high and it is much more valuable for the Leafs to keep and play him. He is a young player who can provide you with cheap goal-scoring if you trade him, you have to look for somebody just like him to replace him.