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Bobby McMann is a chance to undo the Maple Leafs Trevor Moore & Mason Marchment wrongs

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Photo credit:Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports
Jon Steitzer
1 month ago
Right now it’s pretty easy to love Bobby McMann. Six goals in under a week will do that and the fact that he presently has a cap hit under the league minimum salary is a nice little bonus. Now this could be a case of a fourth liner on a heater, it’s been known to happen before, but that heater has moved McMann into 7th on the Leafs in goals this season in 30 games played, and still averaging under 10 minutes of ice time a night. Like Mason Marchment and Trevor Moore before him, Bobby McMann is showing a spark that he can be the physical fit for the Maple Leafs top nine that they’ve seeming searched everywhere but the Marlies to find.
The illness that has been going around the Leafs locker room has been kind to Bobby McMann, it forced change in the bottom six. Up until this week, McMann has been glued to Noah Gregor and David Kampf. That hasn’t gone particularly well but no one really thought anything of it since it is the fourth line. The absence of Tavares created opportunities to play with Pontus Holmberg and Max Domi and that was a game changer.
WithTOI WithGF/60GA/60GF% WithCF% With
David Kampf191.631.882.5042.8650.55
Noah Gregor174.822.061.3760.0049.07
Pontus Holmberg60.503.970.9980.0052.89
Nicholas Robertson30.121.990.00100.0044.64
Ryan Reaves20.700.002.900.0044.90
John Tavares18.170.000.0031.43
Auston Matthews15.033.997.9833.3356.76
Max Domi14.524.130.00100.0032.00
Calle Jarnkrok12.970.009.250.0048.28
Mitchell Marner12.100.004.960.0052.38
William Nylander10.800.0016.670.0032.14
As you can see in the table above, this isn’t a damning inditement of Kampf or Gregor. A fourth line that has 50% Corsi For is doing its job for the most part, and with the exception of Pontus Holmberg, there really isn’t another group that McMann has had the success with, unless you are planning on putting him on the top line with Matthews and Marner. (No… at least I think no.)
The goal production is another story and McMann has had more success with the middle of the pack guys like Holmberg, and Domi. All of this comes with a sample sized grain of salt, but as regular watchers of the Marlies will tell you, this offence has been there. He didn’t accidentally have 21 goals in 30 AHL games last season and with a Leafs team starved for secondary scoring, McMann is a pretty low risk option. And now that he’s gotten a taste of success in the NHL, we’ll see if wants more.
The thing is, McMann is also the physical player the Leafs have craved. Not only does he have more goals than Tyler Bertuzzi in 23 fewer games, but he just tied him for hits as well, and given that McMann likely isn’t coming out of the lineup anytime soon, he’ll likely be 6th on the Leafs in hits by the end of the week, with most players ahead of him playing significantly more games and often getting significantly more icetime.
There is something to be said for the Leafs developing McMann to be a productive physical player within their organization rather than bringing in a more expensive outside option like they’ve been prone to doing. McMann understands the system and has learned how to do what is needed from the team in those situations while playing the best version of his game. Players like Knies, McMann, and eventually players like Minten and Tverberg will make more sense for the Leafs than the Nick Ritchie and Tyler Bertuzzi options, and Toronto will also be getting these players at a lot more affordable prices, another quality that is needed.
Toronto walked away from two other energetic homegrown players that have gone on to play significant roles for their teams and with McMann, hopefully the plan is to settle in for while. McMann’s contract might be up soon but if Brad Treliving doesn’t sit on it too long there is a good chance that McMann can be an affordable bottom sixer with some secondary offence and mean streak for the Leafs for the next few seasons.
It also doesn’t hurt that Auston likes him.
McMann has brought a lot of energy to the bottom six and is playing a style that has won over fans and presumably the coaching staff too. I’m not sure the Leafs need to give him a much bigger role, but they need to keep giving him opportunities to prove his worth and play him with players that he can be successful with.
Data from Natural Stat Trick and NHL.com

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