NHL Draft: Matthew Robertson

Photo Source: Edmonton Oil Kings/WHL

Name: Matthew Robertson

Team: Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

Position: Defense

Hometown: Sherwood Park, Alberta

Height/Weight: 6’4 201lbs

Hand: Left

NHL Draft Ranking: 28th

Western Prospect Ranking: 6th

Estimated Draft Position: Eighteenth Overall to Twenty Ninth Overall


Areas of Strength

  • Elite Skating Abilities
  • Steadiness Defensively
  • Suffocating Instincts

Areas of Weakness

  • Distributing Discipline
  • Offensive Consistency
  • Physical Play

In Short: “A long rangy two-way defensemen who relies on elite skating abilities and suffocating pressure to excel in an all-situations role. Exhibits all the necessary tools to be a steady defenseman that can make an impact offensively with instinct driven activations, doing everything with confidence while playing to his strengths. Fluid mechanics, composure in all areas, and quick-thinking hockey sense. Robertson’s a relatively safe pick with the potential of being a top-four NHL defensemen.”

Report: Matthew Robertson was the seventh overall selection in the 2016 WHL Draft. Taken by the Edmonton Oil Kings where his older brother (Tyler) previously made his mark and won a Memorial Cup Championship in 2014. Joining the team at the early stages of their rebuild, Robertson was given big minutes from the get-go in his sixteen-year-old year and finished off the regular season with 21 points in 67 games played, second among Oil Kings defensemen in point. He started off his 2018-2019 draft eligible season with a gold medal at the Ivan Hlinka tournament in August, Robertson rode that momentum throughout the season and finished with 33 points in 52 regular season games, helping his Edmonton Oil Kings to an Eastern Conference Final appearance and leading his teams defensive core in playoff scoring. 

Robertson is a smooth skating, well rounded two-way defensemen whose strength on his edge’s and constant mobility allow him to quickly transition from offense to defense and defense to offense with tight changes of direction. From activating off the blue line to hold pucks offensively, to containment of skilled forwards off the rush, Robertson is reliant on his skating in all areas of the game. Robertson’s ability to handle physical pressure and fend off checks allows him to effortlessly escape in tight situations, displaying this trait when transporting through the neutral zone and when slipping down the wall off the blue line. Heady awareness in his defensive end as Robertson continues to rely on his elite level skating, forcing heavy pressure on puck carriers and suffocating opposing players to the outside while maintaining an active yet heavy stick. While he’s very active in his defensive end, Robertson can over skate/swing himself out of position and create holes in defensive coverage at times. As Robertson continues to gain weight, he improve his effectiveness in front of his own net as he’s willing to initiate contact and makes the attempts to box players out to give his netminder a lane of sight, he does this at an okay level in the WHL but may struggle in the NHL with it. Matthew has shown the ability to distribute the puck with confidence and crispness. Keeping his head up with the puck and controlling with the poise and confidence of a veteran WHL defenseman, constantly reading what’s developing around him and adjusting his body based on the information he’s obtained. Incredibly efficient in transition, keeping his decisions simple and carrying out his choices quickly, swooping up the ice through the middle and read with his eyes from one board to the other. A simple red line-deep is often his final go-to option if all passing lanes are clogged but capable of delivering passes in stride. In the offensive end, Robertson’s keeps his play is simple. He’s not a defenseman that attempts to drive the play or strive to make a major impact, but instead he adheres to within five feet of the blue line and constantly adjusts his body positioning to open different angles to receive a pass. Starts his retrievals of the puck on the blue line with a quick two to three cross overs that open a different shooting angle and create a different lanes to choose from. Loves to get his feet moving on the blue line, activating off it often when the puck is on his stick and drives down the wall before attempting a shot or pass from a sharp angle. Robertson’s mobility on the blue line allows him to escape pressure from the corners of the blue line and he’s able to quickly release the puck from his back foot with elevation that can often get through traffic on-net. Given how well he skates, his ability to quickly disrupt opposing break out opportunities makes him such an outstanding management defensemen. He cuts off a lot of the ice.  Overall Robertson is a calm defenseman, he plays a simple style game with a big overall impact. Capable of playing heavy minutes in a game and excelling even-strength or on special teams. While Robertson’s play isn’t decieving, he’s an instinctive defenseman, focused on holding possession of the puck through pressure in all three zones. This can be easily picked up on after multiple attempts. Always engaged and has a gamer’s motor. With a great sense for the game and elite skating abilities, selecting Matthew Robertson in the NHL Draft is low risk selection with the rewards of being middle pairing NHL defensemen. Comparable to Marc-Eduard Vlasic.