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The 7th overall pick in the 2016 WHL Draft, Matthew Robertson had seven goals and 24 points in 67 games for the Edmonton Oil Kings as a WHL rookie last season. He also added two goals and six points in five games for Team Canada Black at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. While the stats might not show it, his mature two-way game has caught the eyes of scouts and earned him a spot on Team Canada for the Under-18s despite the fact he was a year underage.
Robertson took his game to another level this season. It started in the summer when he scored four points in five games for Team Canada at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. He came home with a gold medal. Robertson also had a strong WHL season, picking up seven goals and 33 points in 52 games, greatly improving his points per game. He’s been even better in the WHL playoffs with three goals and six points in 12 games, helping the Oil Kings to the conference final.
Matthew Robertson Scouting Report
Defence — shoots Left
Born March 9th, 2001 — Sherwood Park, Alberta
Height 6’4″ — Weight 201 lbs [192 cm / 91 kg]
Robertson has great size at 6-foot-4 and pairs this with excellent mobility. He skates well in both directions and has the pivots to transition from offence to defence quickly and vice versa. Robertson has above-average speed and acceleration. The skating ability is paired with smart positioning and has become the foundation of his two-way game. He could work on his agility to keep up with particularly shifty forwards. Robertson is strong on his skates. He has very good balance. This helps him to win battles in the corners and in front of the net.
Robertson is a very good passer. This shows up in the transition game where he can start the rush from his own end. It also helps him at the point on the power play. Robertson has a good slap shot and a knack for getting it through the shooting lane. Robertson uses his agility to walk the line and open up shooting and passing lanes. He is also willing to sneak down from the point and let go of his wrist shot from the top of the circles. He could stand to improve his release and get that shot off faster though.
Robertson is a highly intelligent player. He is very good at picking his spots on when to join the rush or pinch in from the point without getting himself caught out of position defensively. Sometimes, he will even sneak right down to the goal line to take a back door pass or get off a backhand in close. Robertson also anticipates plays well, seeing the movement of his teammates and making a smart pass with the puck. He may never be a big scorer at the next level, but should not look out of place and has the potential to be a top-four defenceman.
Generally, Robertson has good gap control and keeps attackers to the outside on the rush. If they have their head down, he is not afraid to throw a big hit. However, he does not get caught out of position looking for one. He has a strong physical game in the corners and in front of the net. Robertson has excellent positioning. He keeps his body between his man and the front of the net. He is not afraid to take a hit to make a play and clear the zone. Robertson is also fearless in his willingness to put his body on the line to block shots. His defensive game is highly advanced for his age.
Projection and Comparison
It might take a few years for Matthew Robertson to develop to his full potential but if he is able to reach his ceiling, the team who drafts him will be very pleased. While he might never be an elite offensive defensive, Robertson has the potential to play big minutes and contribute in all situations for his team. With his size, mobility, and hockey IQ he should become a favourite of his coaches going forward. Robertson’s game resembles Marc-Edouard Vlasic, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Matthew Robertson that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
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