One of the Toronto Maple Leafs’ top prospects went down to injury during his regular-season National Hockey League debut, but the team got some relatively good news on his status. A young player who has Montreal Canadiens fans excited continues to score in college. Plus, the New Jersey Devils bring home a recent draft pick and one of the top prospects of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft heads to a new team.
Nick Robertson’s Injury Not as Bad as Feared
With all the talk about the Maple Leafs adding veteran leadership like Joe Thornton and Wayne Simmonds, Robertson is another young player that can bring a ton of skill to the lineup. He got his first taste of regular-season NHL action on Saturday night, but his debut did not last as long as hoped.
He suffered a knee injury during the first period of the Leafs’ 3-2 win over the Ottawa Senators thanks to this hit from Drake Batherson.
Sheldon Keefe met with the media via video conferencing this morning and reported that the team got some “good news” on Robertson. He said that after an MRI on Sunday, it looks like he will miss about four weeks. While being on the sidelines for a month during a shortened season is less than ideal, it could have been a lot worse.
Keefe also revealed that he will be going with 11 forwards and seven defensemen for tonight’s game versus the Winnipeg Jets. Defenseman Mikko Lehtonen will make his NHL debut.
Cole Caufield Keeps on Rolling
Even though it took longer than expected to get started, it is safe to say that Caufield’s 2020-21 season has been quite eventful. He has continued to rack up points with the University of Wisconsin after playing in the World Junior Championship, where had two goals and five points in the United States’ run to the gold medal.
On Sunday, Caufield scored on a first-period power play to break a 1-1 tie with Arizona State.
He finished off a great passing play by blasting home a one-time from the right circle. A pair of recent NHL draft picks, Dylan Holloway (Edmonton Oilers) and Linus Weissbach (Buffalo Sabres), picked up the assists on the play. He added an assist later in the game as Wisconsin swept a two-game weekend series with a 5-3 victory.
Caufield now has eight goals and 17 points in his 14 games with the Badgers. He is scoring at a higher rate than he did in 2019-20 when he had 19 goals and 36 points in 36 games. The most encouraging thing about his season so far is that he proving that he is more than just a goal scorer. Last season, he averaged .47 assists per game compared to .64 through the first 14 games of 2020-21.
Graeme Clarke Goes Pro
The Devils loaned Clarke, a 2019 third-round (80th overall) draft pick, to HC Nove Zamky in Slovakia. He picked up one assist in his six games overseas as it appears that he will be returning to North America. It is reported that he will head to the American Hockey League and play with the Binghamton Devils.
Clarke is a 6-foot right wing known for his puck handling skill and his lightning-quick release. This will be the 19-year-old’s first taste of professional hockey in North America. He had 46 goals and 76 points in 134 games, over the past three seasons, with the Ottawa 67’s in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL)
Brett Harrison is Off to Finland
With the uncertainty surrounding the OHL and if they are even going to have any kind of season, players have been looking for other options to get some playing time. The Oshawa Generals announced today that they have loaned Harrison to Koovee Ry of the Mestis Finnish League.
The 17-year-old center had 21 goals and 37 points during his rookie OHL season which saw him skate in 58 games for the Generals. He is committed to returning to Oshawa if and when the OHL begins the 2020-21 season. Harrison is eligible for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. He was included on the NHL Central Scouting’s “watch list” and was given a B rating, which means they consider him to be a second or third-round pick.