Nick Robertson may make the perfect trade chip for the Leafs to help them get what they need before the deadline
Photo credit: Sports Illustrated

If used as a trade chip, Nick Robertson could net the Leafs the perfect playoff player

Published January 7, 2024 at 5:02 PM

The contending window for the Toronto Maple Leafs is right now but one has to wonder how much longer it will remain open for. Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, and John Tavares will occupy a little over $35 million next season and if you factor in the rumours of William Nylander's extension, that number should rise up to about $46 million - more than half of the expected salary cap.

The cap will be rising with projections of $87.5 million for 2024-25 and $92 million for 2025-26. That can only bode well for a club that is reluctant to move on from their core players. However, if the playoffs were to begin today, how confident are we in the current group that Brad Treliving and company have formed?

Nicholas Robertson was a very highly touted prospect within the organization from the moment he was drafted. Unfortunately, he has gone through a myriad of injuries and inconsistent play in the big leagues, which makes it hard to believe that he can turn things around on a dime - which is what the Maple Leafs need. Robertson has been a healthy scratch for 3 straight games and the time may be right to finally move on.

Robertson could serve as an enticing trade chip heading into the trade deadline and with the Maple Leafs looking to add to their top-9, the Columbus Blue Jackets could make the perfect trade partner for Brad Treliving.

Boone Jenner is the captain of the Blue Jackets and he also has 2 more years of control at a reasonable cap hit of just $3.75 million per season. Perhaps the Maple Leafs could get the Blue Jackets to retain a small bit of his salary, however, even if they're unable to talk Columbus into retaining, the intangibles that he would bring to the club would likely go beyond what even Ryan O'Reilly brought to the organization last season.

Jenner's leadership is coveted, he plays a physical brand of hockey that is always required in the playoffs, and he's shown a proclivity of producing as a solid secondary option throughout his career. He has 183 goals and 347 points in 686 games through 11 seasons - all with Columbus - which includes a 30-goal campaign back in 2015-16 as well as back-to-back 23+ goal seasons in 2021-22 and 2022-23.

He is currently on the mend with a fractured jaw but he leads the Blue Jackets with 13 goals through his 29 games, which would have had him on pace for 37 goals in a full 82-game season. The Jackets are not contending and they could look to off-set as many veterans as they possibly can, but it makes you wonder what they would need in return for their captain and leading goal scorer.

The last time Columbus dealt their captain to the Maple Leafs, a banged up Nick Foligno netted the Blue Jackets at 1st round pick and more. Jenner, being younger and more productive, could net an even greater return. Could Nick Robertson and the Leafs' 1st round pick in either 2024 or 2026 be enough to entice Columbus to move Jenner, who would almost certainly be an instant fan favourite in Toronto, given how he plays the game?

Th price may seem steep, but this is a quality player with term remaining that we're talking about here. Jenner would add experience and skill to their special teams - especially the penalty kill, which could use a boost.

Just something to think about as we near closer and closer to the trade deadline.
January 7   |   1049 answers
If used as a trade chip, Nick Robertson could net the Leafs the perfect playoff player

Should the Leafs attempt to acquire Boone Jenner from the Columbus Blue Jackets?

Yes64861.8 %
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