Early this season, when Nick Robertson was moved to the Toronto Maple Leafs’ American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate Toronto Marlies, his future seemed a bit murky. I wondered when Robertson might ever get a chance with the big club.

Eventually, that happened. The club brought him up, and he got his chance. Since that time, he’s been playing on a pretty solid third line with Max Domi and Calle Jarnkrok. So far, Robertson has totalled 17 NHL games this season and he’s put up nine points (three goals and six assists) in those games.

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Robertson Is Learning and Improving This Season

Robertson is learning and contributing this season. Over his most recent two games – against the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Pittsburgh Penguins – he’s shown his playmaking by registering assists during both games. He was even given power-play minutes, and he delivered. Robertson’s offensive value is growing.

Nick Robertson, Maple Leafs

In the 17 games he has played this season, Robertson has earned a solid nine points. What makes this achievement more impressive is the fact that he has predominantly played on the third line on limited minutes. His production underscores his potential impact on the scoresheet if he played a more prominent role on the team.

It raises a question: Could Robertson’s offensive output see a significant boost with an opportunity on one of the top two lines? The answer is that he probably would score more if he were given a good chance to do so.

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There’s Good Chemistry on the Maple Leafs Third Line

However, the fact is that Robertson has a pretty nice space to learn his game on the team’s third line. He’s been working to build chemistry with his current third-line mates. And, in doing this, his performance has been consistently noteworthy. It’s probably as good a place for him as any to transition into NHL hockey.

That said, he might have top-six talent. If so, that adds an element of intrigue (and for me excitement) to his future with the Maple Leafs. Robertson’s demonstrated ability to contribute offensively. Now, it’s tempting to want to move him up as quickly as possible to see just what he might be able to do in a top-six role.

I hope that doesn’t happen. Instead, I like the fact that he’ll grow by having increased ice time alongside his current linemates. The question of his finding a permanent spot on the Maple Leafs’ scoring lines lingers. However, that’s more of a strong possibility for next season and not this season. He’ll likely be needed then more than he is now as a scorer.

Perhaps Nick Robertson Would Shine in the Maple Leafs Top Six, But Now Isn’t the Time

Robertson’s current value will best be witnessed as he continues to develop and grow right where he is. Yes, he could have a significant uptick in his scoring if he found a more prominent role on one of the Maple Leaf’s two scoring lines. However, it might be better if he worked hard to help make the trio of Domi, Jarnkrok, and himself a scoring line of their own.

Calle Jarnkrok, Maple Leafs

As Robertson continues to grow in his offensive abilities, it would be fun to let him rumble around with his two current linemates. What kind of personality might the line grow and develop as the season progresses? If this line can become a legitimate threat to play the game in the opposition’s end of the ice, it would benefit the team immeasurably.

Fans might want to keep an eye on Robertson. If he can stay healthy, he’s a player whose ascent to the top six could unlock even greater offensive potential. But for me, I hope that assent comes next season and not this season.

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