Nick Ritchie gets another opportunity to prove himself to the Leafs

Nick Ritchie will be given a further chance to show the Toronto Maple Leafs what he can do, after Mitch Marner and Pierre Engvall were place in COVID protocol.

As we wrote on Thursday, Nick Ritchie‘s time with the Toronto Maple Leafs appeared to be coming to an end after being placed on waivers. However, he will now receive another opportunity to prove himself to the organisation.

As reported by TSN‘s Chris Johnston, Ritchie has cleared waivers. In addition, forwards Mitch Marner and Pierre Engvall have been placed in COVID protocol.

As a result, Ritchie has received a reprieve and will play for the Leafs on Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche. As per Jonas Siegel of The Athletic, the indications are he will play on the third line alongside David Kampf and Jason Spezza:

If Ritchie is ever going to step up his game, now is the time. It’s fair to say he has been a disappointment so far for the Leafs this season, with only eight points in 30 appearances.

This includes just one goal, which unsurprisingly has the winger on course for the worst shooting percentage of his NHL career, at just 2.2 percent. In addition, his average ice time of 12:14 is the lowest since his rookie season.

The writing appeared to be on the wall for Ritchie, after being a healthy scratch for last weekend’s game versus the Ottawa Senators. He then played poorly in the 4-2 win against the Edmonton Oilers, leading to him being placed on waivers.

The Leafs understandably expected more from the Orangeville, Ontario native, after signing him to a two-year, $5 million contract during the summer. He was coming off a productive season with the Boston Bruins, which included a career-high 15 goals.

It is evident that Ritchie has the size and toughness needed to play in the NHL. What isn’t so clear however, is if he has the necessary skills to prosper consistently.

In this respect, the 2014 10th overall draft pick has produced 145 points (60 goals and 85 assists) in 380 NHL games. Now in his seventh season, he has reached a crucial point in his career; how he responds will be telling, starting on Saturday night in Colorado.

How confident are you in Nick RItchie? Do you see him finally proving himself to the Toronto Maple Leafs, or is this latest turn of events merely delaying him being assigned to the taxi squad or Marlies? Let us know in the comments section below.