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It’s gut-check time for Nick Robertson

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Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Alberga
27 days ago
It’s put up or shut up time for Nick Robertson.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
The 22-year-old, who hasn’t appeared in a game for the Maple Leafs since February 29th, was recalled from his latest AHL stint on Monday.
Any way you slice it, how Robertson performs over the balance of the season – 18 games and beyond – could make or break his future with the organization.
The 2019 second rounder is approaching change of scenery territory. And his rumoured availability on the trade market leading up to last week’s deadline tells you that the Leafs are realizing that, too.
On top of all that, next season, Robertson will need waivers to be sent down to the American Hockey League. Good luck with that. By far, the Leafs have had the most players plucked off waivers over the past decade. It’s sickening. Hell, even William Lagesson didn’t stand a chance of making it through. Seriously.
Suffice it is to say, the writing is on the wall for Robertson, who’s notched a career-high eight goals and 19 points in 41 outings so far this season for Sheldon Keefe. Down the stretch, he’ll either demonstrate the consistency necessary to become a mainstay on the roster or – as soon as this summer – Brad Treliving will find a new home for him. It’s as simple as that.
Most importantly, without question, Robertson should get plenty of opportunity to muscle himself back into the picture. At this point, they’ve given him extended looks up and down the lineup. Unfortunately, nothing has really stuck outside of a brief run causing mayhem on the third line. Of course, it doesn’t help that the coach changes line combinations more than the Golden Knights manipulate the salary cap. It sure is something.
Bottom line: Robertson needs to find a way to be a consistent contributor offensively, or he’s not really helping the team. Furthermore, he’s not good enough defensively to play a shutdown role in the bottom-six, and to this point, he’s been unable to capitalize and overtake the likes of Tyler Bertuzzi and Matthew Knies in the top-six.
There’s no question Robertson’s frustrated by all the stops and starts early on in his NHL career. From here on out, he controls his fate.
Just do it.

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