An interesting tidbit of information came out of Maple Leafs camp, as Kyle Dubas confirmed that prospect Nick Robertson will be on the Leafs taxi squad. It’s an interesting quirk in the current system, as all CHL players are eligible and I don’t think they will burn a year on their ELCs. This got me thinking: Will the Rangers do the same with Matthew Robertson and have him on the taxi squad?
Robertson is one of the better LD prospects in the system, and he does have an outside shot at breaking camp outright. The 2019 second round pick was promptly signed to an ELC, and followed his stellar draft year with an even better one in 2020. His line of 13-34-47 in 60 games. He’d benefit from traveling with the team.
WHL Season Timing
The one big question is when the WHL season will start. I saw the regular season would start on January 8, but there is no regular season schedule on the site. That’s a bit weird, since the season is “supposed to start” in three days. It’s also a month before the OHL is slated to begin on February 4.
This is still up in air, of course. It sounds like the WHL season is delayed, but there isn’t a press release that I can find. If we assume the WHL won’t start until February 4, which is also when the AHL starts, then Robertson will have three weeks between the end of the NHL preseason and the start of the WHL season. That’s ample time to skate with pros.
Starting The ELC Clock
Odds are the Rangers won’t start the ELC clock with Robertson. He does have an outside shot at making the club, but it’s just that, an outside shot. Think Anthony Duclair in 2014. He’d really need to impress and beat out a lot of LD in camp, both veterans and prospects.
There is significant value in holding Robertson off the roster one more season. If the clock starts this year, then the Rangers would have Robertson, Alexis Lafreniere, K’Andre Miller, and Morgan Barron all up in the same year. They’d at least be kicking the can down the road one more season with Robertson. This allows greater cap flexibility.
Matthew Robertson would certainly benefit from being on the taxi squad. That said, he likely still needs at least a year, probably more, before he’s “NHL ready.” He may not, but most players need a little bit of time. Not everyone can be Adam Fox. He’s certainly a player to watch in camp.