Nick Robertson appears destined for another scratch; is he the Leafs' top trade chip?
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Leafs to scratch top prospect; is he being protected for a trade?

Published January 5, 2024 at 4:07 PM
BY MIKE ARMENTI

The Toronto Maple Leafs are coming off of two of their best 60-minute efforts of the season against Los Angeles and Anaheim on their California road swing, but the trip is not over yet. On Saturday evening, they take on the San Jose Sharks before returning home to Toronto for a grudge match against the Sharks early next week in a home and home set.

The Leafs had surprisingly made Nick Robertson a healthy scratch on Wednesday in Anaheim and while most, I'm sure, were anticipating his return to the lineup on Saturday, it appears as though he may be in the press box once again.

Below, you'll find a list of the line combinations from today's skate in San Jose, provided by David Alter of The Hockey News:

Knies-Matthews-Marner
Bertuzzi-Tavares-Nylander
Holmberg-Domi-Jarnkrok
McMann-Kampf-Gregor
Extras: Robertson, Reaves (injured)


Rielly-Brodie
Benoit-McCabe
Giordano-Liljegren
Extras: Lagesson-Timmins

As far as Robertson's production is concerned, 11 points in 24 games is respectable production from a 3rd liner. Over 82 games, that would equate to 37.5 points. However, with Robertson not receiving powerplay or PK time, his ice time has been limited this season, and thus, his production isn't quite up to par with where many had hoped it would be this year.

One interesting detail to note here is that Robertson's goal scoring at 5v5 has been fine. He has as many goals at 5v5 as John Tavares, Matthew Tkachuk, Jesper Bratt, Mark Scheifele, Mark Stone, Anze Kopitar, Mika Zibanejad, Martin Necas, Seth Jarvis and Cole Caufield, just to name a few. Most or all of these players far exceed his ATOI per game and most or all of them plays a role on special teams as well.

Perhaps this isn't really a matter of whether Robertson is worth having in the lineup, but rather, a matter of Sheldon Keefe needing to find him some additional ice time, perhaps even some shifts higher in the lineup, to help get him going.

The one thing that makes sense here is that the Leafs may be ramping up their efforts to make a trade or two to bolster their lineup and that they may be attempting to phase Robertson out because they intend to use him as a trade chip. Obviously, we can't say that this is the case for certain, but it's certainly an option that is looking increasingly likely.

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January 5   |   942 answers
Leafs to scratch top prospect; is he being protected for a trade?

Will the Leafs trade Nick Robertson before the deadline?

Yes71575.9 %
No15716.7 %
He'll request a trade707.4 %
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