While 2022 Seattle Kraken 4th-round NHL Draft pick Tucker Robertson was disappointed with the results at the Memorial Cup in Kamloops this past weekend, his confidence level remains at an all-time high.
Seattle Hockey Insider had a chance to chat with the 5-foot-10, 185-pound, right-shot center after his Peterborough Petes were eliminated 4-1 by the Seattle Thunderbirds in the semi-final on the Friday night of the Cup’s final weekend.
The concept of returning to major juniors next season as an over-age 20-year-old – his birthday is later this month – never entered into the conversation, and the suggestion and question of moving on to the American Hockey League was quickly supplemented by an NHL reference in the answer.
“That’s the goal for me, I’d like to play in the AHL or NHL, so hopefully I can get a deal done this summer and play pro next year.” Robertson said.
The presumption is Kraken general manager Ron Francis will be chatting with Robertson’s representative Pat Morris of Newport Sports Management about a three-year entry-level deal.
We since had a chance to speak with Petes Head Coach Rob Wilson, who had plenty to say about his top centerman.
“Just an outstanding kid,” Wilson said. “So durable, the last couple of seasons never missed a game, and yet, plays with such a high compete it’s actually very surprising that he hasn’t missed. He’s a kid that plays banged up, you never know when he’s hurting, he never lets you know, you just put his name in the line-up every night because he just has to be there no matter what happens, so very impressed with his durability.”
Despite the fact the Kraken franchise has a slew of center prospects already under contract, including 1st-year entry-level right-handers Shane Wright, Logan Morrison and Ryan Winterton, the organization has plenty of contracts available, plenty of room for competition, and always room for a kid who just put up 90 points in the Ontario Hockey League. He had 81 points for Peterborough the season before.
“Great hockey I.Q.,” Wilson added about Robertson. “Has really good offensive skills, he also thinks extremely well off the puck and is strong defensively, so he’s used in all situations with us and his compete is off the charts. He’s not worried about who’s going in the corner, he wants that puck and he’ll go in against anybody to get it. He’s also really good on face-offs; just all around a really good hockey player.”
Sounds familiar and desirable. The Kraken survived and thrived off winning puck battles. At the same time, they could always use a bit of extra help at the face-off dots.
Meanwhile, coming up on just its third year of existence, this is a Kraken organization building out its entire talent base from the (“Double-A”) ECHL on up.
News and Notes
Robertson finished the Memorial Cup with one goal on eleven shots, two assists, and a minus-4 rating over the course of five hockey games. Having only seen his semi-final game it would be impossible for us to rate his entire tournament performance. Dobber Prospects had this little ditty recently added to his breakdown.
“Tenacious forward with good hands around the net. Plays with energy and has enough skill to grow into a depth scorer at the NHL level.“
Like so many of his contemporaries, Robertson lost a year of development when the OHL shut down due to Covid and cancelled the entire 2020-’21 season.
Robertson’s OHL Petes club this year was veteran-laden with a slew of 19-year-olds, pretty typical for a major junior team that goes on to win a league championship. Based on age limits, only three of them can return to play again. That’s a decision for Peterborough and for the organization that owns each respective player’s rights.
Like it or not, Robertson could be a candidate. For all of his tenaciousness and dangle-ability around the net, there’s definitely room for offensive development. First, he needs to sign that deal.
Kraken Pros and Cons
This is how we summed up Robertson in our initial “Seattle Kraken of the Future” feature on him in February, and little in this segment has changed.
“The element scouts truly enjoy watching is his two-way game. Robertson possesses strong ice sense and solid anticipation skills that fit right in with the Kraken’s transition-and-attack mentality.
He’s not afraid to go the front of the net and other difficult areas and he’s adept at deflecting pucks.
Improvement with certain offensive skills should come with continued repetition. He’s not considered a high-end raw offensive talent. His tenaciousness carries the day. That, his position as a right-handed center, and his present potential of being a bottom six forward in the NHL, would all be attributes desirable to the Seattle Kraken and to scouts from other clubs looking for depth with an upside.“
We can add that he’s an excellent penalty killer.
This is the time of year that prospects and professionals put in the work that the fans don’t see. Whether it’s “dry land” training or repetitions on ice, it can often be the workload and the tenacity in the summertime that pays off in multiple ways come fall.
Barring any unforeseen moves, we’ll get our next look at Robertson at Kraken Development Camp in July.