The Toronto Maple Leafs have selected winger Nick Robertson with the 53rd overall pick of the 2019 NHL Draft.
Robertson is American, from the new hotbed of hockey, California, and he is listed at 5’9” and 161 lbs. He is a centre/left wing and shoots left. He was invited to the US Team for the World Junior development camp. That event takes place in late July.
Robertson is one of the youngest players in the draft given his birthday, a scant four days ahead of the cutoff. He went slightly better than point per game for the Peterborough Petes of the OHL. Small but driven, Robertson has impressed scouts with his ferocity and grit. From Canucks Army:
Robertson’s work ethic makes him stand out from both his peers and opponents on the ice. He forechecks hard, backchecks hard, supports low in the zone and strides as fast as he can to get on offence — where he shines the most. He isn’t just a unique, undersized grinder. He is also a very skilled player. He goes to the corners and to the front of the net, finds the puck, and digs it out to attack the opposing defensive box using his shifty hands and size to his advantage to slip in and out looking for scoring chances. — David St-Louis
Our former chief Scott Wheeler concurs:
Every so often, though, you get a player who never stops moving, hunting, driving and hitting and you can’t help but notice just how hard they really are working. Robertson, the youngest player in my top 31, is that player. You can literally see it in the way his eyes bulge as he chases down a bigger player and knocks them over. You can see it in the way his body shakes and his shoulder bobble when he cuts to the inside lane to explode towards a loose puck. There are times when it works to his detriment, he’s expending too much energy when he should just be trying to slow things down. But that’s just who he is. Luckily for Robertson, there’s skill there too.
From our own Kevin Papetti:
Leafs select Nick Robertson.— Kevin Papetti (@KPapetti) June 22, 2019
Love this pick. Highly-skilled winger who was one of the best players on the ice at the top prospects game. First round talent. Nice assist here: pic.twitter.com/ejys8z8kLG
We’re privileged to have a full scouting report on Robertson from our hotshot writer Hardev Lad, who was moonlighting for SB Nation’s Tampa Bay Lightning site at the time.
Jeremy Crowe has access to the Mississauga Steelheads’ tracking statistics, and they show Robertson in a positive light.
#Leafs 2nd rounder Nick Robertson was one of the top OHL players this season in per 60 rates on shot/scoring chance assists and in transition playmaking. Excellent distributor of the puck.— Jeremy Crowe (@307x) June 22, 2019
Also super young - he was born on 9/11, just four days before the draft cutoff.
Robertson was ranked 42nd on Bob McKenzie’s list.
Robertson has spent some time in Toronto and Michigan as a youngster, and he chose the OHL to begin his career:
Robertson began his time in minor hockey in Southern California, an area in which his dad laid roots after opening his own law firm. Nick then moved to Michigan at eight years old with his mother and two older brothers to create larger opportunities in hockey, before eventually heading to Toronto. Following his bantam years with the Vaughan Kings and minor midget stint with the Toronto Red Wings, Robertson was drafted to the Petes in the 2017 OHL Priority Selection.
A player with Robertson’s moxie and skill is never a bad thing to have, and we’ll be interested to see his game develop in the coming years.