Nick Robertson's Trade Value

I’ve broken down who the Leafs might target ahead of the trade deadline, both forwards and defencemen. Nick Robertson was included in a couple of my mock trade proposals. Robertson could be a valuable player for the Maple Leafs, but he could also be used as a trade chip. So why would the Maple Leafs trade him right as he’s on the cusp of cementing himself as a bonafide NHL player?

The Leafs lack draft capital and top-level prospects to dangle in a trade. This has led to Robertson’s name coming up often in rumours. Let’s examine Nick Robertson’s trade value if the Leafs decide to trade him.

Robertson’s career

To understand Nick Robertson’s trade value, we must first examine Robertson’s career thus far. The Maple Leafs drafted the undersized forward with the 53rd pick in the 2019 draft. After a monster year for the Peterborough Petes, Robertson was thrust into action during the Maple Leafs play-in series against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Robertson, just 18, held his own in his first taste of NHL hockey, scoring his first NHL goal.

Robertson’s first stint with the Maple Leafs raised internal and external expectations surrounding him. Unfortunately, Robertson battled injuries and couldn’t stick with the Maple Leafs when healthy for the next three seasons. He had glimpses of fulfilling his potential, including a memorable game against Dallas where he scored twice, including a beautiful one-timer to win the game in overtime. Robertson was consistently dominant when playing for the Marlies, but he couldn’t quite hold down a regular spot in the NHL.

Robertson played only 17 games between the Marlies and Leafs last season before he was forced to undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. After starting the 2023-2024 season in the AHL, Robertson was called up in November and hasn’t returned to the AHL since. He had some adversity in the form of healthy scratches but eventually solidified a spot in the lineup. Robertson has provided some valuable secondary scoring, with 8 goals and 19 points in 41 games. Overall, Robertson has been good, if unspectacular. He’s been outshined by linemate Bobby McMann of late.

Nick Robertson's Trade Value
Nick Robertson’s Trade Value

Breaking Down Nick Robertson’s Trade Value

Beyond Robertson’s career production, let’s break down some other key factors to determine his trade value.


Robertson has been bouncing between the NHL and AHL for a while, but he’s still just 22 years old. To put that in perspective, he’s just over a year older than Leafs’ rookie Matthew Knies. Unlike Knies, it feels like patience is wearing thin with Robertson within the Toronto organization. Still, Robertson’s age should be a positive for his value. Robertson is still developing, and if he can stay healthy he’ll have a long career ahead of him.

Injury History

Conversely, Robertson’s injury history is worrying. His inability to stay healthy is the biggest knock on the American. Robertson has battled a myriad of injuries including a fractured fibula, a concussion and last year’s shoulder injury. This season is the first since he was drafted where Robertson has managed to stay healthy, which is a positive development. Overall, Robertson still needs to prove he isn’t injury-prone, adversely affecting his trade value.

Style Of Play and Skills

Robertson’s biggest skill is his shot, which is elite. He still needs to find out how to get open and get that shot through more often at the NHL level. Robertson’s tenacity and puck retrieval skills are strong, but his skating is average, especially for a player his size. His playmaking hasn’t quite translated to the NHL level yet either.

Robertson isn’t a liability defensively, but he’s better suited to playing on an offensive line. Sheldon Keefe’s inability to play Robertson in a checking role has prevented him from solidifying a spot in Toronto’s lineup sooner. If Robertson does get traded, it would be ideal for him to land on a team with less depth. If Robertson is given a longer leash, he could prove himself as a legit top-six forward. Whether he can reach that level with the Maple Leafs remains to be seen.

So What Is Nick Robertson’s Trade Value

The General Consensus

I noticed that Robertson’s perceived value was inconsistent among fans, so I ran a Twitter poll to find a consensus. Of 54 responses, 63% believed that Robertson is worth less than a 2nd round draft pick. 24% thought a 2nd round pick would be a fair valuation.

Naturally, I disagree with the majority. There is a disconnect between the value of a draft pick and the value of a young NHL calibre player. To get to the bottom of this, we must examine the value of a draft pick.

The Value Of A Draft Pick

There is a tendency for fans to overvalue draft picks, especially picks after the first round. For example, according to a study by Jokke Nevalainen covering the 2000-2009 draft classes, only 17.2% of second-round picks played over 100 NHL games. This percentage dropped to 13.7% for third-round picks.

So what’s more valuable? A lottery ticket with a 17.2% chance of playing more than 100 NHL games, or a skilled 22-year-old who has already played 72 games? Based on the statistical likelihood of drafting a legitimate NHL player, I’d argue that Robertson is at least as valuable as a second-round pick. It’s possible a team could land the next Nikita Kucherov in the second round. Realistically, they’re more likely to draft somebody like Jeremy Bracco. Especially considering that most contenders will be offering late second-round picks, rebuilding GMs would be better off taking a chance on Robertson.

Nick Robertson’s Trade Value

Nick Robertson is worth at least a second-round pick for the Maple Leafs. Considering the Maple Leafs don’t have a second-rounder for the next three years, Robertson could be valuable in a deadline trade. If Brad Treliving can’t get that value for him, he’d be better off keeping Robertson and finding a different package to swing a deal. Robertson can be sent to the AHL without waivers, so there’s no need for the Leafs to force a trade.

What do you think Nick Robertson’s trade value is? Should the Maple Leafs hold on to him, or is it time to trade him? Let me know and stay tuned to Area 51’s NHL coverage.