During the 2019-20 season, two Toronto Maple Leafs prospects – Nick Robertson and Semyon Der-Arguchintsev (SDA) – played together on the OHL’s Peterborough Petes. That season SDA scored an amazing 12 goals and 63 assists (for 75 points) in 55 OHL games. The Maple Leafs drafted him in the third round (76th overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
However, as good a season as SDA had in 2019-20, it paled in comparison to the season his partner Robertson had. Robertson scored 55 goals and 31 assists (for 86 points) in the 46 OHL games he played. It would be fair to say that the twosome carried most of the offense for the Petes. Robertson, who was expected to be chosen higher, for some reason slipped down the draft board and was chosen by the Maple Leafs during round two (53rd overall).
SDA and Robertson Are Back Together Again
At the end of October and prior to the start of the 2020-21 NHL’s regular season, Der-Arguchintsev stayed home in Russia and was loaned to Torpedo of the KHL. He played there and scored two goals and four assists in the 17 games. He would have played more except he was injured. Not long ago, he returned to North America and now plays in the AHL with the Toronto Marlies.
Robertson made the Maple Leafs roster out of training camp, but during his first shift of his first game of the season he too was injured. He hasn’t returned to the Maple Leafs roster and upon his healing was moved to the Marlies as well. In short, suddenly they find themselves playing together again. And, they seem to be enjoying it.
SDA has only played three games with the Marlies, but he’s scored four assists. Robertson has played 12 games and has three goals and seven assists for 10 points. Their first game together was on March 31 and the two former Petes’ teammates combined to score the winning goal.
SDA and Robertson’s First Goal Together as Marlies
Der-Arguchintsev created the action that led to the goal when he won a battle for a loose puck and sent the puck to Robertson, who beat former Maple Leafs’ goalie Garret Sparks. [By the way, Sparks now plays for the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate the Stockton Heat.] According the to Maple Leafs’ Hot Stove article linked above, SDA scored two primary assists (creating assists is something he’s been good at) but his defense has also been stellar.
As Marlies’ head coach Greg Moore noted about SDA’s play, “You can tell in the little pockets of time when he is away from the puck, he is scanning the rink and finding his teammates. He can predict where the movement is going. He has a special way of putting pucks into areas as players are moving into it, even if it is cross ice or a direction that is not in the flow of the game in which he is moving.”
Moore added that “He (SDA) is a special talent in how he sees it, but a lot of it stems from his habit of how he is pre-scanning and finding options in the pockets of space away from the puck, which allows him to make high-level reads when he has the puck.”
Coach Moore on Robertson’s Play
Coach Moore also noted that, “I thought [Robertson-SDA-Anderson] complemented each other really well. Uncle Joey (that’s Joey Anderson), as a mentor, did a really good job talking to those guys between every shift, helping coach them up with details. It was really great to see the creative play between the three of them. You can tell that Robertson and Semyon have some chemistry and have spent a lot of time together. The line had a huge impact on the game today.”
As for Robertson, after their first game together, he noted that it feels like his “third start to the season” because he’s come back from two injuries. He had missed a month with his oblique injury, but as soon as he hit the ice it seemed as if he was back on his old game.
He’s obviously enjoying playing with SDA and, if both stay healthy, it will be fun to watch the two of them – with the help of Anderson, it seems – resurrect their games together. If they can do so, the Marlies will benefit in the short term and perhaps the Maple Leafs will benefit in the long term.
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