Bobby McMann's Emergence For The Maple Leafs

Bobby McMann’s emergence for the Maple Leafs has been incredible. The 27-year-old rookie has 10 points in his last 7 games, highlighted by his first career hat-trick against the St Louis Blues. McMann suddenly has a very respectable 17 points in 33 games this season. McMann’s career is a wonderful story of perseverance but is his breakout a flash in the pan? Or will Bobby McMann be able to continue his breakout season for the Maple Leafs?

McMann’s story

After four years at Colgate University, McMann signed a two-year AHL contract with the Toronto Marlies in April 2020. The forward bounced between the ECHL’s Wichita Thunder and the Marlies in his first season. The next year, McMann spent only four games with the Newfoundland Growlers before being called up to the Marlies.

He quickly established himself as a top-six forward. McMann scored 24 goals in 61 games for the Marlies in the 2021-2022 season, setting a Marlies franchise record for goals by a rookie. McMann was subsequently rewarded with a two-year entry-level contract, giving him the chance to realize his NHL dream.

Bobby McMann's Emergence For The Maple Leafs
Bobby McMann celebrates a goal against the Arizona Coyotes. Zac BonDurant/Getty Images

The late bloomer wouldn’t have to wait much longer for his chance with the Maple Leafs. On January 10th, 2023 McMann made his NHL debut as a 26-year-old. Despite producing just one assist and a questionable, disallowed goal in his first 10 games, McMann’s energy was noticeable.

On October 10th, 2023, the Leafs placed McMann on waivers. The forward returned to the Leafs on November 11th and made an immediate impact with two assists in a win over the Canucks. McMann scored his first career goal on December 16th against the Penguins in his 17th NHL game. Slowly but surely, McMann has become a key depth contributor for the Leafs.

Is Bobby McMann’s breakout sustainable for the Maple Leafs?

There are reasons to believe McMann can sustain his play and have a bright future in the NHL.

Scoring in different ways

If you want to score consistently at the NHL level, you generally need to learn to put the puck in the net in a variety of ways. Auston Matthews is a perfect example of this. Matthews is known for having an elite wrist shot, but he wouldn’t be able to rack up goals at such a prolific pace without scoring in multiple ways.

Although McMann doesn’t have a large sample size of goals in the NHL, you can see encouraging signs in the way he’s scored. Like Matthews, McMann’s greatest weapon is his wrist shot. The Albertan is starting to believe he can beat NHL goalies with his shot. He’s also shown the ability to score goals by going hard to the net. McMann even scored a powerplay goal after Sheldon Keefe gave him a shot with the second unit. McMann has also added two empty netters, showing Keefe trusts him in defensive situations.

You can see this trend with McMann going back to his days with the Marlies. Whether it was with his wrist shot or on a deflection. Off the rush or on the powerplay, McMann showed versatility as a scorer. This versatility gives McMann the potential to be a 20-goal scorer in the NHL.

Impact Outside of Goals In Bobby McMann’s Emergence For The Maple Leafs

When he’s not scoring, McMann still positively impacts the game. He brings speed, tenacity and physicality to the Leafs lineup. John Tavares has benefitted from McMann’s presence on his line, scoring two goals that resulted directly from McMann’s pressure on the forecheck. McMann has also been used on the penalty kill, an area where the Leafs need help.

Bobby McMann has quickly gone from an afterthought in the Leafs lineup to a key bottom-six contributor. Brad Treviling would be wise to extend McMann at a reasonable price, especially considering next season’s impending cap crunch. If the Leafs can sign him for multiple years at a reasonable rate, similar to the contract Michael Bunting signed with the Leafs, it could be a tremendous value play.

Do you think Bobby McMann’s emergence is sustainable? Let me know and stay tuned as Area 51 covers the rest of the NHL season.