The Toronto Maple Leafs have announced that Nick Robertson and Mac Hollowell have both undergone surgery. Robertson’s procedure was to his shoulder, and will keep him out for the next six months. Hollowell had a procedure on a fractured kneecap and will be out a minimum of 12 weeks.
It’s a brutal blow for Robertson, who has not been able to stay healthy in his pro career. The undersized forward (and younger brother of Dallas Stars forward Jason Robertson) has now played just 82 total games over the last three seasons. That’s at all levels, with just 31 of them coming with the Maple Leafs.
For a player who scored 55 goals in 46 games during his post-draft year, there were huge expectations for the 2019 second-rounder. He made his NHL debut during the Maple Leafs’ 2020 bubble playoffs, and scored his first goal. But injuries have kept him off the ice since then, and inconsistent playing time has limited him to just seven NHL points.
By the time he’s ready to return next season, he’ll be 22 and quite removed from that exceptional junior season. There’s no telling whether Robertson will ever be able to live up to the potential he showed, given how much time he has missed.
Hollowell, meanwhile, made his NHL debut this season and recorded two assists in six games for the Maple Leafs. The fourth-round pick had progressed steadily through the system and appeared to have climbed considerably up the organizational depth chart.
Now, with a 12-week recovery timeline, it seems likely that he won’t get any more NHL time this season. As a restricted free agent this summer eligible for arbitration, he needs a new deal. After missing so much time, it might end up being prudent for him to accept a qualifying offer and hope to rebound from a tough injury.