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Young Winger Should Think About Staying with Toronto

Robertson trade

Before free agency hit, Nicholas Robertson requested a trade out of Toronto. However, it doesn’t look like his wish will be granted. Maple Leafs General Manager, Brad Treliving made a comment on Robertson’s trade request. “We look at Nick as an excellent player, and there’s great opportunity for Nick here, and we need him to be a good player for us,” he said. On the same line as Treliving’s statement, Robertson should look to stay with the Leafs, despite his aspirations to be traded.

Where does Robertson Stand with the Leafs?

The 22-year-old winger is an RFA but still requires a contract from the Maple Leafs. There are a few other RFA’s on the table that Treliving has had to deal with. Timothy Liljegren was re-signed for two years at $3M AAV. Toronto also decided to let go of Noah Gregor and he went on to sign with the Ottawa Senators. And the final RFA on the books for the Leafs is Connor Dewar, who filed for salary arbitration.

Robertson was drafted by the Maple Leafs in 2019 with the 53rd pick and has been a Leaf since. He’s appeared in the last four seasons for the Buds. However, last season was the first time he saw more than 15 games. He was likely to see more games in the 2022-23 season but a shoulder injury in December kept him out for the rest of the season. Robertson returned at the start of last season but probably didn’t get the ice time he hoped for.

He scored 14 goals and 27 points in 56 games last season, while only averaging 11:22 of ice time. Most of the time, he would spend his time on the third or fourth line, and he needs more time out there for a player of his quality. So Robertson’s trade request makes a lot of sense when you look at how things have gone for the Californian.

An Opportunity to Behold in Toronto

It’s always been tricky for Robertson to find a spot in the Leafs lineup that allows him to play substantial minutes. He was always behind the star forwards that grace the Leafs lineup. Those include Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Mitch Marner and John Tavares. In the past Robertson has had to play behind left wingers such as Zach Hyman, Michael Bunting, Tyler Bertuzzi and more. You can understand why Robertson asked for a trade and does not feel comfortable with his future in Toronto

However, Toronto’s left side isn’t so strong this season. If Robertson were to stay, he would be in competition with Matthew Knies, Bobby McMann and Pontus Holmberg. With his skill set, it is very realistic for Robertson to earn a spot on the first or second line over those players. Of course, that all depends on how he uses the ice time that he’s given. It’s understandable that Treliving doesn’t want to trade Robertson. The Toronto GM believes he can really help this team going forward. On top of that, he doesn’t cost too much, which is huge for a team up against the cap.

Main Photo Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports


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