It feels strange to say that a 26 year old rookie making less than $1M/yr might not be ready for the Leafs top six, and be prepared to meet resistance from making that statement, but here we are. Bunting, who has been very solid with four goals, and seven total points through his first 16 games with the Leafs is doing what could have reasonably been expected of him, but at the same time, I can’t help but wonder if his modest success is coming at the cost of slowing down the Leafs top six.
Earlier in the year it was the case for Nick Ritchie. He simply wasn’t a fit with Tavares and Marner and then Matthews and Marner. As time progressed onward we found ourselves with Michael Bunting seeing time with the Auston Matthews line, and what we’ve seen is a steady cooling off of Bunting’s game as well as a number of question marks around how well Auston has been doing this year. Presumably, this duo isn’t a match, and Bunting could be better off in a sheltered situation alongside Alex Kerfoot, assuming that placing him back at center is an option again.
Author: Jon Steitzer / The Leafs Nation