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Nick Robertson Unlikely to Impact Maple Leafs’ 2023-24 Season

Toronto Maple Leafs’ Nick Robertson faces an uphill battle to secure an NHL spot for the 2023-24 season.

There is bad news for Leafs’ fans who want one of their top-end prospects to finally break through on the main roster. According to Sportsnet insider Luke Fox, the 2023-24 NHL season may not feature Nick Robertson’s breakthrough with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Fox was asked in a mailbag article over the weekend if “this the year Nick Robertson finally establishes himself in the NHL?” His answer was no.

Upon further explanation, Fox noted that despite showing promise in past preseasons, the young forward’s current waiver-exempt status and roster constraints are likely to delay his NHL debut. Even after impressing during preseason games last fall, Robertson was assigned to the AHL’s Marlies due to various factors, including the team’s tight salary cap situation. Nothing has changed for the Maple Leafs. In fact, one could argue the outlook for Robertson has gotten worse.

Nick Robertson Maple Leafs injury

Robertson’s availability remains uncertain for the upcoming season as he is still recovering from a shoulder injury that cut short his 2022-23 campaign. Moreover, the team’s current left-wing depth chart presents a challenging path as he will need to outperform other established players like Tyler Bertuzzi, Max Domi, Matthew Knies, and Sam Lafferty. Among these competitors, only Knies is exempt from waivers, making Robertson’s journey to secure a spot even more challenging.

Robertson Will Have to Catch a Break

As much as it doesn’t look like there’s a clear path for Robertson to get his shot when healthy, circumstances can change over the course of the season. Injuries are an unfortunate reality in professional sports, and the Maple Leafs might find themselves in a situation where they need Robertson’s talents. It would be an awful reason for Robertson to get into a game, but he’ll undoubtedly accept the role as he is likely eager for the opportunity to consistently demonstrate his skills at the NHL level.

For Maple Leafs General Manager Brad Treliving, he faces a balancing act. The team likes Robertson’s potential, but there comes a time when potential isn’t enough. Based on the current roster and a lack of opportunity, if the team is in win-now mode and can’t exercise patience, perhaps a trade is the best option.

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