In the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, the Toronto Maple Leafs used their second round pick, 53rd overall to select Peterborough Petes undersized winger Nicholas Robertson.
Had the Californian native been five days younger, he would have slid into 2020 draft and likely would have been a top ten selection, so it looked as though the Toronto Maple Leafs may have had made a gem of a pick.
Robertson who had scored 27-goals in his draft season went back for another year in the Ontario Hockey League and would torch opponents as he collected 55-goals in just 46 games after the season was shutdown due to COVID.
Standing at just 5'9", Robertson has a mountain to overcome if he could play at the NHL level and in glimpses he has teased fans into thinking he is a future top six forward, but then he will go on long stretches of people wondering whether or not he is an NHL caliber player.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Robertson Looking Similar to Former Prospect
Robertson went through a stretch earlier this season of collecting three goals and four points in six games, the problem is, those are his only goals of the season and he has not found the back of the net over his last 14 games dating back to November 25.
When you speak with some fans, they think he is a future 30-goal scorer, while others feel it is time to move on, so what do the Toronto Maple Leafs do with this winger?
The 22-year old carries a lot of similarities to another former Toronto Maple Leafs prospect that has carved out a spot in the top six spot on a Western Conference team and that is Trevor Moore.
Another California native, the Maple Leafs signed Moore as an undrafted NCAA player from the University of Denver at the age of 21. He played nearly three years in the American Hockey League with the Toronto Marlies before he got his first long stretch with the big club at the age of 23 where he had posted similar numbers to what Robertson has posted this year.
In his first 25 games, Moore potted just two goals and eight points in 25 games, eerily similar to Robertson's three goals and nine points through 21 games. Both players were also hovering around that nine to ten minute mark of ice-time per night.
Why bring this up? Robertson is a full year younger now, than what Moore was when he first jumped into the league. Moore would have a follow up year in 2019-20 where he would record five points in just 27 games before being the main piece used to acquire Jack Campbell prior that year's trade deadline.
Like Moore, there is a lot of potential in Nicholas Robertson, the Maple Leafs see it, just like the Los Angeles Kings saw it in Moore. In Los Angeles, Moore has been able to continue his progression into a top six forward averaging over 17-minutes a night, fourth best amongst Kings forwards that is leading towards a 30-goal season and earned him a five-year extension last season.
Robertson is still four years younger than when Moore really broke out in 2021-22 that saw him collect 48-points. The franchise has a player waiting to explode and could follow a similar path than his American counterpart.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have a highly skilled forward still on his entry level contract, they need to continue playing him in his role and unless you are getting a really good top-four defenseman, you need to be patient with this winger.