Nick Robertson has been tearing up the American Hockey League recently, but has he done enough to crack the Toronto Maple Leafs playoff line-up?
Nick Robertson is hands-down the most anticipated Toronto Maple Leafs prospect of the past few years.
Since 2015, the team has done a tremendous job at drafting and developing, as we sometimes forget that Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Rasmus Sandin and Timothy Liljegren are all home-grown talents.
Acquiring players through free agency and trades is important, but selecting the right player through the NHL Entry Draft is even more impressive.
That’s what makes the Nick Robertson selection so intriguing.
With the 53rd pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Leafs selected Robertson. An undersized skilled winger coming off a point-per game season in the Ontario Hockey League seemed like a fine pick, but his development one-year later made the selection so much enticing.
After getting drafted, Robertson scored 55 goals and 86 points in 46 regular season games and lit the OHL on-fire. As the league-leader in goals scored that year, the excitement and anticipation grew for the youngster, as it looked like the Leafs hit the jackpot.
Is Nick Robertson Ready for a Toronto Maple Leafs Playoff Run
Although he’s technically played (and scored) in a post-season before, Robertson has had a troubling past two years. Whether it was the pandemic, or injuries, it’s been a difficult ride for the 20-year-old.
Despite the limited action, when he has been healthy, he’s been great. His skillset is clearly too good for the American Hockey League already, as he has 27 points in 26 games this year, but it’s unclear whether or not he’s ready for the NHL.
At 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, Robertson is a prototypical top-six forward. He shouldn’t be sunk on the fourth-line because his skillset doesn’t help that assignment.
In a perfect world, Robertson would fill in beside John Tavares and William Nylander and stack the Toronto Maple Leafs second-line. From there, you could slide Ilya Mikheyev and Alex Kerfoot alongside David Kampf on the third-line and you’d have 20-goal scorers on three lines.
And if for whatever reason he’s not up to the challenge physically on the second-line, Robertson can be a great asset on the second-unit power-play, as his release is clearly NHL ready.
When it comes to playoff hockey, you clearly need physical players who aren’t afraid to go into the corners, but you also need to score. Toronto has a ton of options for scoring right now, but you can never have too many, and as a result, inserting Robertson into the line-up gives them extra depth scoring.
The best case scenario for Robertson and the Leafs is that he turns into Cole Caufield for a playoff-run, so with that being said, Toronto should definitely look to add him into the line-up.