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Matthew Robertson is an enormous, safe defender that’ll make whoever picks him real happy

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He’s got few valleys in his game, and his dimensions will make any old-time hockey fan very happy.

MARKO DITKUN/EDMONTON OIL KINGS

Analysis:

Matthew Robertson’s enormous size belies a player much smarter and cooler-headed than you’d expect.

Robertson’s demeanor is one of a stone cold professional, something that stands out quite a bit in junior when rookies are often prone to the same shortcomings all teenagers are. A guy who can roll with whatever the game throws at him and return not with a punch, but with a well placed body check or pass to get back at the opponent in the most important place: the scoreboard.

The Oil Kings did well enough this year in the WHL, what with dudes like Trey-Fix Wolansky, Quinn Benjafield, and other young scoring talents whose names sound like I made them up to do a funny, and their breadwinners on the blueline only added to the onslaught that often came down on hapless teams like the Wheat Kings and Rockets. Robertson was a huge help in getting the Oil Kings to on offense by having an accurate, tough-to-stop shot and a near automatic ability to take a first or second opportunity pass and turn it into a tricky save for any goaltender. And if he didn’t like his shot, he could quickly and accurately create a scoring chance via a well-placed pass.

Unsurprisingly given his size and reach, he was also instrumental in getting the Oil kings into being a stingier than usual team, usually by using that huge reach of his to grab the puck, identify the easiest stretch pass to make, and getting that puck up ice and away from his goaltender as quick as possible. And if he needed to, Robertson’s skating ability, which is much more agile than you’d expect from a guy his size, could happily take the puck up and out of the zone himself if he absolutely needed to, though with the talent on display, he only needed to in desperate emergency. He was willing to use his size to make a hit, but he shows how ahead of the game he often was in comparison to his peers by staying in position to do it, not jumping ahead of the play to assert himself.

Where Robertson needs work is in an odd place. He’s in a great spot both offense and defense-wise, maybe opts to pass a bit more often than he should given how he can really wire the puck, but his game could best be described as a Jack-Of-All-Trades. His size is used appropriately, his skating is good, his hockey IQ is good, his passing is good...but he doesn’t really excel in any of those areas. For some, this might be great as someone like him could be a great addition to a blueline that may need a slight boost, but the reason guys like Broberg or Byram or Seider or York are going before he does is because they do excel at something or almost all areas where he is merely...good. Look at it like this: A B-average guy isn’t failing, but he’s gonna stand out as much where there are a bunch of guys throwing out A’s. And with the jump to the pros, there’s fears his offensive production could end up taking a hit, which would be an issue for more aggressive teams that want their defenders involved in plays.

Still, Robertson’s extremely solid foundation has him set to go in the late first, starting in the early 20’s and possibly going down to Boston. If you’re that worried about having big boys on your back end, look no farther than probably the easiest, safest choice you can make all first round that isn’t Jack Hughes 1st overall.

Rankings:

  • 35th by The Athletic
  • 35th by HockeyProspect.com
  • 19th by Future Considerations
  • 19th by ISS Hockey
  • 29th by MCKEEN’S HOCKEY
  • 26th by NHL Central Scouting among North Americans
  • 34th by EliteProspects.com
  • 25th by TSN/McKenzie

Statistics:

Season Team League Games Played Goals Assists Points Penalty Minutes
Season Team League Games Played Goals Assists Points Penalty Minutes
2015-16 Sherwood Park Flyers Bantam AAA AMBHL 32 7 20 27 8
2016-17 Sherwood Park Kings Midget AAA AMHL 29 5 11 16 6
2017-18 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 67 7 17 24 44
2018-19 Edmonton Oil Kings WHL 52 7 26 33 26