The Leafs scratching Connor Dewar over Nick Robertson for Game 4 has mistake potential

Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Alberga
1 month ago
On the surface, electing to keep Nick Robertson in the lineup in favour of Connor Dewar seems like the right decision.
But is it?
Assuming William Nylander is good to go to make his series debut in Game 4, it appears Dewar, whom the Leafs acquired from Minnesota at the trade deadline, could wind up being the odd man out.
Two weeks ago, this would’ve been a no brainer decision for Sheldon Keefe —but not anymore. Pound for pound, the fourth line consisting of Dewar, David Kampf, and Ryan Reaves have arguably been Toronto’s most consistent trio through three outings against Boston. They’ve been fantastic, and most importantly, they’ve set the tone for the rest of the team.
For all intents and purposes, Robertson is a hired gun. He’s a goal scorer —plain and simple. This really feels like one of those scenarios where Keefe’s trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Weirdly, this decision could prove costly, but again, this is why the head coach gets the big bucks. Essentially, a team once again starving for offence at the most important time of the year, is hesitant to scratch someone who’s actually a threat to score goals. It makes sense. Too bad chemistry is a thing, though. This isn’t NHL24, this is reality.
Whether you agree with the roster move or not, this could be another one of those moments for Robertson to prove his worth. He’s pointless in the series thus far with eight shots on goal, two of which – at least – he was robbed point-blank. He’s very due.
Furthermore, as we’ve learned time and time again with this bench boss, it would be foolish to read too much into line configurations. Just because Nylander starts on a line with Pontus Holmberg and Calle Jarnkrok, it doesn’t necessarily mean things will stay that way through the course of the night. Ditto for the new-look fourth line.
Having said all that, coaching decisions are more amplified in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In fact, they could make or break a game or series. Just look at what Jim Montgomery did after his Bruins lost Game 2.  Without question, it’s the seemingly little decisions that could help put a team over the top in the end.
All eyes on Sheldon Keefe.

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