The Toronto Maple Leafs are in the midst of an intense mini-training camp ahead of the 2019-20 NHL Season’s Re-Start.
The 18 year old OHL goal scoring champ was drafted last summer in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft.
Now, second rounders do not usually make the NHL a year later, but Robertson is a special case.
Robertson was the youngest player in his draft class, so he was the most raw. In fact, he was only several days away from being ineligible for that draft.
Had Robertson been born three or four days later, he’s instead be a top ten pick (likely top five) in this year’s draft.
So theoretically, the Leafs could be using a player who, had he been born a week later, wouldn’t even be eligible to have been drafted yet, let alone play in the NHL playoffs.
It is a crazy story.
And now comes news that he is practicing on the top line.
The Toronto Maple Leafs and Nick Robertson
News from Jonas Seigel of the Athletic:
It doesn’t appear that Zach Hyman will be injured for long, but this is an interesting development.
In my opinion, the Toronto Maple Leafs should definitely be using Nick Robertson when the games start to count for real.
Human nature is to give the job to an experienced player, but the Leafs really need to consider what Robertson can bring to the table, which is the ability to score goals, and what will be, as soon as he plays his first NHL game, one of the best wrist shots in the NHL.
We don’t know how Robertson will adapt to the NHL, or if his overall game would be good enough for a larger role. But the beauty of the situation is that the Leafs don’t need him to play a large role.
The Leafs would already know if he was so bad that he was going to stand out, so we can pretty much eliminate that possibility by the fact they are practicing him with their best players.
So at worst he can probably play a small role and they can use his shot as a weapon.
This gives them two options:
1. Play him on the top line and hide him, with two elite players doing all the work, Robertson can just snipe. This allows you to put a strong play driver like Hyman on the third line where I believe Hyman-Kerfoot-Kapanen would be a pretty elite line and gives you the chance of having another impact player on your roster.
2. You give him a taste of the NHL at the expense of Freddie Gauthier (fairly useless overall) play him on the fourth line and the second power-play. You probably get a small edge over what other teams are doing.
Either way, not much of a loss. I hope we see Nick Robertson two weeks from tomorrow.