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The 16th overall pick in the 2017 OHL Priority Draft, Nicholas Robertson had a strong second season in the league. He put up 27 goals and 28 assists for 55 points in 51 games for the Peterborough Petes. However, he had just one goal and one assist in five OHL playoff games as the Petes fell to the Oshawa Generals in the first round. It was an improvement on his rookie season when he had 15 goals and 33 points in 62 games and the Petes missed the playoffs.
A native of Arcadia, California, Robertson is another prospect showing the results of the successful expansion of the game into the southern United States. Robertson played for Team USA at last summer’s Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, putting up a goal and four assists for five points in five tournament games. He is the younger brother of Dallas Stars prospect and Niagara Ice Dogs forward Jason Robertson. Robertson was born just four days before the cutoff for the 2019 draft, as he is one of the younger players in the draft.
Nicholas Robertson Scouting Report
Left Wing — shoots Left
Born September 11th, 2001 — Northville, Michigan
Height 5’9″ — Weight 160 lbs [175 cm/73 kg]
At just five-foot-nine, Robertson is undersized and considerably shorter than his brother. It is hoped he can have a bit of a late growth spurt, especially given his late birthdate. That said, he makes up for his lack of size with his strong skating ability. His first few steps and acceleration are amongst the best in the draft and his top end speed is also excellent. He can use his ability to change speeds to blow by a defender off the rush. Robertson also has very good agility and edgework. His ability to make quick cuts or change directions makes him very hard to contain. Robertson has a low centre of gravity that helps him to win battles along the boards or in front of the net. However, his lack of size is still an issue as he can be overpowered by bigger opponents and knocked off the puck.
Robertson has a non-stop motor and is always involved in the middle of the play. He is surprisingly physical for his size, getting in quickly on the forecheck and being an absolute wrecking ball against opposing defenders. His ability to cause turnovers and create havoc on the forecheck helps him to create offence. He is also willing to get to the front of the net and creates havoc there. Robertson is good at getting tip-ins, burying rebounds, or just causing goaltenders problems with his presence and ability to get under their skin.
Robertson is also skilled. He has good hands and can make strong stickhandling moves around a defender. When he creates some space, he is able to get off a good wrist shot and a quick release. He also has a very good snapshot. Robertson is shifty and this helps him to make passing and shooting lanes. When he gets the opportunity, he can create for teammates with a tape-to-tape pass in a scoring area. Robertson sees the ice well and reads the play effectively making smart plays with the puck. Without the puck, he is able to find open space and take a pass from a teammate.
Robertson keeps his feet moving and is willing to play his gritty game in all three zones. The effort level cannot be questioned. However, he needs to work on his positioning and discipline. Robertson can get himself out of position by chasing the puck and looking for the big hit. This can leave his man open at times and creates some problems. With more time and proper coaching, he can fix these issues though. He also could use some work in the faceoff circle, especially if he wants to play centre at the next level. Robertson’s lack of size can be an issue when he supports down low as he can be overpowered by bigger and more physical forwards.
Projection and Comparison
Nicholas Robertson is a bit of a project. He will need time to add muscle to his frame to be able to withstand the rigours of playing against professionals every night. He will also need to work on his defensive game. Robertson could be a top-six forward if he develops properly. While he has played both centre and left wing in Peterborough, he likely projects as a winger at the NHL level. In terms of comparison, Robertson’s game is reminiscent of Theoren Fleury. However, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on talent and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Nicholas Robertson that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect in our NHL Draft series.
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