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Is Nick Robertson the Maple Leafs’ Second Line Answer?

The Toronto Maple Leafs have needed a second-line winger to play with John Tavares and William Nylander. Is Nick Robertson the answer?

Every Toronto Maple Leafs’ fan knows it by now. After not making the team’s roster out of training camp – not because he didn’t deserve it, but because of the salary-cap situation – Nick Robertson was able to start his first game on the team’s second line. He delivered on his opportunity; and, he did it both offensively and defensively. 

Nick Robertson, with the Toronto Marlies

In an almost perfect situation, because he was playing the Dallas Stars with big brother Jason and the Roberston family in attendance, Robertson scored two goals. The first was on a nifty pass from Michael Bunting to put the Maple Leafs up a goal at 2-1. The second goal was the game-winning goal in overtime. 

Robertson has now played two games for the team. He hasn’t looked out of place and has been a contributor to the team’s wins. 

Related: Bunting Calls It: Simmonds a Maple Leafs Difference Maker

Elliotte Friedman Weighs in on Robertson’s Early Success

In the video below, NHL insider Elliotte Friedman joins partner Jeff Marek on his show to discuss Nick Robertson’s breakout game against his brother and the Dallas Stars. The point was that Robertson, although he had to wait for his chance longer than he probably should have, took advantage of his opportunity when he got it. 

Not only did Robertson score two goals on the offensive end, but he also made a huge defensive play during the game to set up his own game-winning goal.

Friedman Doesn’t Think It Was Fair to Keep Robertson Out

When Friedman spoke about Robertson, the first thing he said was that he didn’t like what happened to Robertson at the beginning of the season. He’s more of a believer that, if you deserve to make the team, you deserve to make it. And, he believed Robertson deserved to make the team at the start of the year.

But Robertson didn’t sulk. He waited for his chance because he knew it was going to come. And he made the most of the chance he got when it came.

Related: Three Takeaways from Maple Leafs’ 4-1 Win Over the Jets

The Big Question for Friedman Is Whether Robertson Is the Second-Line Answer

During the interview, Friedman made the statement that the Maple Leafs have to hope Robertson is the answer to their big second-line question. Who’s going to play with John Tavares and William Nylander?

So far, so good. In his two games, Robertson’s come through. As Friedman put it: “When you get that opportunity, it’s on you on whether or not you deliver. And (against the Stars) that kid delivered.”

For Friedman, It Was as Much the Defensive Play as the Two Goals

Friedman knew that a lot of people were going to talk about the two goals Robertson scored; and, “those goals were spectacular.” 

However, as Friedman put it: “I still think the play tonight to play right before the winner Jamie Benn said to himself “I am going to pick this young forward (Robertson) apart; and, it looked for a second like he was going to. But Robertson timed his move perfectly.”

For Friedman, it was the defensive play of the game. The result was Robertson scoring the game-winning goal. 

Now, can Robertson consistently deliver? Will he be the answer to the Maple Leafs’ question about who will play on the wing with Tavares and Nylander?

If he is, watch out.

Related: CAN MAPLE LEAFS’ GOALIE SAMSONOV PLAY WELL OVER THE LONG HAUL?

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