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The Rise of Bobby McMann continues into 2024-25

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Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Bennett Jull
1 month ago
This article is brought to you by bet365!
Take a step back and ask yourself; what were you doing three years ago? Would that version of yourself be happy with where you are today? Would they be surprised? Three years is a long time in the sports world, particularly in hockey. While confidence and belief are crucial aspects to anyone that makes the NHL, I wonder if even Bobby McMann himself envisioned just how meteoric his rise has been over the last three years.
Three years ago Bobby McMann was coming off of his first professional season. He split time between the Wichita Thunder of the ECHL, and the Toronto Marlies. In the four letter league he put up 17 points in 18 games, while contributing a measly four points in 21 games with the Marlies. The next season (21/22) he escaped the ‘Coast, suiting up in 61 games with the Marlies, and just four with the Newfoundland Growlers.
That takes us to the 2022-23 season where McMann really started to turn heads. In 30 games with the Marlies he put up 21 goals and added eight helpers. His speed, strength, shot, and forechecking were on display almost every night. The Colgate grad rightfully earned a call-up to the Maple Leafs, suiting up in 10 games. He showcased his abilities, and gave the Maple Leafs a stable 4th line option.
Even heading into this past season, McMann was nowhere near an every day NHL player. He started the season with the Toronto Marlies, and certainly wasn’t the first call-up option. It’s important to remember just how many players McMann had to climb above within Toronto’s organization. Pontus Holmberg and Nick Robertson were amongst the last cuts, and they both started the year above McMann for being the first call-up. There were others in the mix as well; Dylan Gambrell had just come off 60 games the year before with Ottawa, Alex Steeves was itching for more NHL time, and Kyle Clifford’s experience could have been called upon.
Many players earn a look in the NHL, and it can be difficult to stick. There are players every year that get chances with the Maple Leafs (and every other NHL team) who fizzle out and only play a handful of games. There are others who seize that opportunity, and never look back. Bobby McMann is the latter. #74 pretty quickly proved that he could be a useful 4th line option at the minimum. He played up the lineup as well, rarely looking out of place. McMann averaged over two hits per game and had almost double the takeaways versus giveaways in 11:33 minutes per night, with his 15 goals in 56 games is a 22 goal pace over 82 games.
If you peel back the curtain and dive deeper into the Colgate product’s underlying numbers, you’ll find some solid stats. McMann had a 50.15% Corsi, and when he was on the ice Toronto scored 34 and gave up 22 goals (60.71% GF) (Natural Stat Trick). His shooting percentage was 12.71%, a hair above the Maple Leafs average of 11.1%. This suggests that his 15 goals could/should be replicated if he stays healthy and gets similar opportunities. He thoroughly deserved his contract extension.
Brad Treliving rewarded McMann’s performance with a two-year contract extension that begins this coming season. A one-way contract, the 27 year old will earn $1.35M over each of the next two seasons. If he can score at the same rate he did this past season, he will be well worth the money. A great deal for both sides, it will be interesting to see where he slots in come opening night next season.
Obviously changes and additions are coming to the roster, so it’s difficult to predict exactly where he will slot in next year. What we do know is that he acted as a Swiss army knife, and has the ability to play up and down the lineup. All of Leafs nation should feel supremely comfortable with him starting on a 3rd or 4th line. He plays a fast, heavy, straight line game. His speed and physicality is perfect for a cliche bottom six role. That being said, he could also play with two skilled players higher up the lineup. His ability to dig out pucks and do the ‘dirty work’ could be useful for more skilled line mates. McMann showed an ability to finish plays off last year, which suggests he could play with other scoring forwards. I personally would like to see him feature more in a penalty killing role this season.
McMann actually spent more time on the power play last year than the penalty kill. Going into this year, I hope the Leafs utilize him more shorthanded. He is tough on pucks and his speed would provide a threat in penalty-kill situations. While I’m a big Bobby McMann fan, I don’t know if his skillset translates super well to the power play. In my opinion, his biggest asset is his speed, which is nullified during the man advantage. He will never be tasked with entering the zone, and I think there are more skilled players and better net front options for Toronto.
My biggest and only concern with him is his health/durability. He’s had a handful of injuries over the last two seasons, some of which were more serious than others. Torn adductors (groin) and MCL (knee) issues are no joke and it’s largely why he has yet to feature for the Maple Leafs in any playoff games. Last year he entered training camp less than 100% due to lingering issues from the season prior. Hopefully he is all healed up from his MCL issue, and has a productive, healthy summer.
Bobby McMann has overcome a lot in his career. His perseverance and ability earned him a contract extension. He is undoubtedly an NHL calibre forward, and we possibly have yet to discover just how good of a player he can be. If he has a strong summer and maintains his health, there’s no reason why he can’t score 20 goals next year.

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