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Should’ve Nick Robertson make the Leafs next season?

Nicholas "Nick” Robertson has made quite the splash in the OHL this season. He is a 5’9”, 161lbs, winger playing for the Peterborough Petes of the OHL. The 18-year-old was drafted 53rd overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 2019 Entry Draft. Robertson was born in Arcadia, California and has played in the OHL since he was 16-years-old.

Team USA 

(USA Hockey)

Robertson played for Team USA at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He had four goals, one assist and five points in five games en route to a fourth place finish for the United States. In 2020 Robertson put the USA jersey on again, but this time at a much grander stage; the World Juniors. Once again Robertson played five games, scoring two goals, three assists, and five points. Although for the second time the United States fell short, losing in the quarter finals.

Peterborough Petes

(Chris Tanouye/Getty)

Robertson joined the Peterborough Petes in 2017, via the OHL Priority Selection being selected 16th overall. After the 2017 Petes Development Camp, Robertson signed a standard player agreement. His first year with the club was the 2017-18 season. He had 15 goals, 18 assists, and 33 points in 62 games, while the Petes had the second worst record in their conference that season. The following year was the 2018-19 season, which also marked the first year Robertson would be eligible for the NHL Draft. Robertson gained a jump in production scoring 27 goals, 28 assists, and 55 points in 54 games. The Petes made the playoffs that season, playing in five games Robertson scored one goal, one assist, and two points. 

In 2019, Robertson was drafted by the Maple Leafs. After Leafs training camp he reported back to the Petes, being too young to play with the Leafs AHL affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. Returning back to Peterborough for the 2019-20 season, Robertson was made an alternate captain. He would go on to play the best hockey in his junior career. He scored 55 goals, 31 assists, and 86 points in just 46 games. By the time the OHL cancelled the remainder of the season the Petes were second in their conference and had clinched a playoff spot. The way they were playing it made very possible for them to make a run at the OHL Cup.

Can Nick Jump to the NHL 

(The Athletic)

Does the dominance Robertson showed in the OHL deserve a look from the Leafs next season? Part of the worries for him to play in the NHL next season would be his size. Being listed at only 5’9” he would have to show excellence at training camp to get a look. Another issue going against him is that fact that he primarily plays left winger, which the Leafs are already deep on. On the other hand if Robertson can come in and make an impact immediately, that would open the door for the Leafs to move one of their wingers for a defensemen which has been a weakness for Toronto over the last couple seasons. 

It all comes down to how well Robertson can perform at training camp. He still wouldn’t be eligible to play in the AHL next year as he is still too young. If Robertson reports back to Peterborough next season he wouldn't have the opportunity to return to the Leafs until the following year. The Leafs can play Robertson in up to nine regular season games, if they choose to do so, before needing to make a decision on whether or not to send him back to the OHL. If Robertson plays nine games and then gets sent down, he won’t lose a year on his entry-level contract.


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