Bunting's unfortunate injury may open the door for a red hot Nick Robertson

Published April 24, 2022 at 10:59
BY MIKE ARMENTI
It's arguable that Nick Robertson has had more downs than ups in his young pro hockey career, but after an unfortunate injury derailed his 2021-22 season before it really started and after an unproductive 9-game trial at the NHL level, Robertson has finally found his game.

Robertson appears to have found another gear since being sent back down to the American Hockey League, racking up 12 goals and 19 points over his last 16 games and looking dominant in the process. With his recent run of success, Robertson is now up to 27 points in 25 games with the Toronto Marlies and looks like one of the favourites to be the next man up.



It's very easy to forget that Robertson is still just 20 years old and will not be 21 until next season. While it's fair to suggest that things have not quite worked out for him at the NHL level yet, it's also far too early to begin throwing the "bust" label around.


The biggest concern with Robertson is not his work ethic or his skill level, but his seeming inability to remain healthy for long stretches. After making what many viewed as a successful playoff debut in the Toronto bubble against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2019-20 playoffs, Robertson has not been able to put together a healthy season in each of his first two full seasons as a pro.

With Michael Bunting going down against the Panthers on Saturday and with the announcement that he is likely to miss some time, this could be an excellent opportunity for Robertson to step in, take the ball and run with it. If there's ever a time to call a player up, it's when he's red hot, which Robertson has been. Hopefully, if he gets the opportunity and the call up, he can continue playing at the level that he has been playing at over the last 16 games in the American Hockey League. If he can do that, he could be a real x-factor for the Leafs down the stretch and into the postseason.

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