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Why wholesome streaks are piling up for Maple Leafs’ Nick Robertson

TORONTO – On the day he cleared Nick Robertson’s streak for the fourth consecutive recreation, Sheldon Keefe was reluctant to debate his choice.

When requested how a lot not seeing recreation motion may very well be detrimental to the 21-year-old left winger’s growth, the Toronto Maple Leafs head coach rapidly responded:

“A few issues. To begin with, I am not going to reply this query each day. It’s changing into ineffective. However what I might say is that there are a variety of benefits to being within the NHL for a younger participant.”

We’ll get it.

The coach’s precedence – particularly at this level within the Leafs’ aggressive journey – is to outfit the gamers who will give the membership the very best probability to win the sport.

Keefe is just not happening a successful streak, particularly coming off his most convincing win of the season.

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Robertson has 5 even-strength factors in his 10 appearances, however his primary possession metrics are lower than stellar. He is a power-play risk who does not get a lot PP time, and one solely has to take a look at his ice time to see how a lot religion Keefe has in Robertson’s defensive recreation, which remains to be ‘ growth.

Again dwelling in LA, Keefe skated Robertson by simply 6:32 total. In Robertson’s most up-to-date look, a win over Vancouver, he scored 8:49.

Toronto’s backside six – and your complete left facet, for that matter – endured loads of change through the first month of the marketing campaign, contributing to a tense atmosphere across the room.

Now, the Maple Leafs’ ahead strains are getting some traction, discovering some rhythm, and an rising consistency has arrived with Robertson on the skin seeking to -in.

Keefe, understandably, desires defensive dependability and a pure heart in his backside six, so name up Pontus Holmberg. And he understands how Denis Malgin – Robertson’s direct competitors going into coaching camp – has modified to contribute as a fourth line.

He desires to offer that chemistry time to flourish.

Merely put, Keefe says, Robertson’s scores are primarily based on efficiency, not age or perspective.

“He is working off and staying prepared,” Keefe mentioned.

Behind the scenes, there are every day discussions among the many Leafs’ decision-makers about one of the best ways to proceed with Robertson.

With Matt Knies unsigned and in school, Robertson is taken into account the very best younger scorer beneath contract with a company that has spent a variety of futures now.

To our understanding, the participant has not requested a commerce. He’s desirous to be an on a regular basis NHLer and understands that he could have to attend for an damage or poor efficiency from one among his gamers to get one other vital run with the Leafs.

The trick right here is to proceed to develop and have interaction Robertson, who nonetheless has the potential to determine himself as a full-time — and cap-friendly — contributor. Robertson may also be returned to the farm at any time, as no exemptions are required.

“So far as this goes, Marlies, no matter, it is not my choice. That is an organizational choice,” Keefe mentioned.

“As for now, it is right here. And we need to proceed working with him. “

Robertson has already been disruptive in his nonetheless younger profession. A number of accidents, seasons shortened by a pandemic, and the yo-yoing between minors and majors have the undersized participant usually referring to hockey as a “enterprise.” “

A chilly phrase utilized by a participant who tries to maintain an emotional distance from his place on the depth chart.

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“It’s what it’s. I attempt to be optimistic whether or not it is in my favor or not. Something can change on this enterprise, I’ve discovered. It is not an enormous deal to me. I am type of used to it,” Robertson mentioned not too long ago.

“It is totally different. I’ve been scratched earlier than after I was wholesome. I imply, my brother [the Dallas Stars’ Jason] he went by the identical factor his first full season. I am not going to sit down right here and say I need to get scratched, however it’s one thing that is occurred to rookies earlier than, so it is not like I am seeking to -in an excessive amount of.”

How a lot does Keefe focus on his strategy with Robertson?

“Perhaps the primary time I get a scratch, [the coach] it takes you in, however after that you simply have a look at the [lineup] board and see the way it goes,” replied Robertson.

“It’s important to be constant to be the place you need to be within the lineup – and that is what I am making an attempt to do. “

One-time employees: With Matt Murray strong in his three video games over 5 nights final week, the goalkeeper will get a breather on Monday, handing over the online to help Erik Källgren…. Islander Cal Clutterbuck wants simply seven photographs to surpass Dustin Brown for essentially the most ever…. Ilya Samsonov (knee) will return to apply Tuesday and can journey on the Leafs’ subsequent four-game street journey. He isn’t anticipated to play this week although…. TJ Brodie won’t journey as he has not recovered from a critical ahead damage as rapidly as anticipated.

Monday’s Maple Leafs vs. New York Islanders projected lineups

Bunting – Matthews – Nylander

Kerfoot – Tavares – Marner

Engvall – Holmberg – Järnkrok

Aston-Reese – Struggle – Malgin

Rielly – Benn

Giordano – Holl

Sandin – Liljegren

Källgren has began

Murray

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