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Status Update on Nick Robertson’s Joining Team USA at WJC

Whether or not Nick Robertson goes to the World Junior Championships is still up in the air, despite being on Team USA’s preliminary roster.

As NHL names come off the list of players heading to Edmonton for the World Junior Championship, one name in Toronto is still being tossed around but no decision has ultimately been made. As per a few sources, Nick Robertson could be loaned out to Team USA, but that’s still up in the air, even though Robertson has been named to the preliminary roster.

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As per Chris Johnston of Sportsnet, “Robertson is among those named to Team USA’s preliminary world junior roster, but his participation will hinge on when (or if?) NHL training camps get going.” He adds, “I’d expect him to remain with the Leafs if there’s a camp in December.” He adds there’s still little in the way of details about when NHL training camps will get going but Team USA will finalize its world junior roster on Dec. 13. A decision will need to be made by Kyle Dubas and Robertson before that date.

TSN’s Darren Dreger seems to confirm that report saying, “If the NHL is back up Nick Robertson stays in Toronto…if not, he goes to Edmonton mid-December.”

Like most players who are being left out of the WJC Tournament, the reason seems to be either a) fear of injury or b) the team’s desire to have said player train at their own NHL training camp. For Robertson, it’s appears to be much more of column ‘B’ than ‘A’ as the Leafs appear willing to loan him out, but only if it doesn’t interfere or overlap with the team’s NHL plans.

While not guaranteed, that suggests Toronto sees Robertson as an important part of the roster this season. The young forward made the difficult decision to stay in Toronto versus going back home to the USA and spending time with his parents during the pandemic. His plan was to do everything he needed to make and stay with the Maple Leafs club.

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Leafs Nick Robertson Team USA

When Will the Leafs Decide?

As the NHL pushes back the season with seemingly each major conversation between the NHL and the NHLPA, the odds of Robertson potentially joining Team USA go up. That said, some teams have chosen not to send players — like the Rangers with Alexis Lafreniere and the New Jersey Devils with Jack Huges. Perhaps they know or have a gut feeling an NHL season start date won’t be pushed back much farther than it already has.

For now, Robertson’s involvement should be categorized as a big “If.” He will join the team “if” the NHL is pushed back even farther and by more than a couple of weeks. He’ll join the team “if” the NHL season is delayed indefinitely. He’ll join the team “if” the Maple Leafs feel it’s best for him to get up to speed and physically ready and they can’t offer him that opportunity at their own camp.

Remember, the magical date here is December 13. At that point, Team USA wants all its players in Edmonton and quarantining to be cleared and ready for the tournament.

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