Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Tristen Robins.
Drafted by the Regina Pats in the fourth round of the 2017 WHL Bantam Draft, Tristen Robins would play just one game as an underage player for Regina before being traded to the Saskatoon Blades at the 2018 WHL Trade Deadline. With Regina loading up as hosts of the 2018 Memorial Cup, and Saskatoon continuing their rebuild, the trade was a classic example of a team giving up future production in an attempt to win Major Junior Hockey’s biggest prize. The trade would eventually pay off for the Blades. This year, in his second full WHL campaign, Robins had a breakout year. He put up 33 goals and 40 assists for 73 points in 62 games before the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last season, the Brandon, Manitoba native put up just nine goals and 16 assists for 25 points in 66 regular-season games with limited ice-time. He would go on to add three goals and one assist for four points in 10 WHL Playoff Games. Before coming to the WHL, Robins played his midget hockey for Rink Hockey Academy Prep School in the CSSHL. In 2017-18 he scored 20 goals and 54 points in just 31 games.
Tristen Robins Scouting Report
Centre/Right Wing — shoots Right
Born November 15th, 2001 — Brandon, Manitoba
Height 5’10” — Weight 173 lbs [178 cm/78 kg]
A bit undersized, Robins makes up for it with strong skating ability. He has a quick first step and very good acceleration. His top-end speed is also very good. Robins ability to change speeds can be used as a weapon on the rush. He can take a defender wide, drop his shoulder, and cut to the front of the net. Robins also has excellent agility and edgework. His ability to make quick cuts and turns can also beat defenders. He is tough to handle in one-on-one situations. Robins can get stronger to improve his balance and ability to win battles in the corners. That said, he is fearless, and a low centre of gravity is an asset when he battles with defenders.
Robins has a very good arsenal of shots. His wrist shot and snapshot are both accurate and powerful. He gets them off quickly with good hands and the ability to change his angle just before his release. His one-timer is also effective. Robins can also score in tight to the net with the ability to hit the top of the net on his backhand. He is a smart player who finds open ice without the puck, setting up to take a pass and get his shot off. With his good skating ability and soft hands, he can also make moves in one-on-one situations and create his own shots. Robins is willing to get to the front of the net both with and without the puck.
Robins can also play the role of a playmaker. He has soft hands and the ability to handle the puck while moving at top speed. This allows him to lead the rush through the neutral zone. Robins gains the zone effectively with his ability to avoid defenders. His skating must be respected and opens up passing lanes. He has good vision and can find his teammates and set up a scoring chance even with a tight passing lane. Despite his lack of size, Robins protects the puck well in the cycle game. He also fights hard for loose pucks and forechecks effectively. This area of his game will continue to improve as he builds muscle.
Robins brings his strong work ethic to the defensive zone as well. He reads the play well and provides effective backpressure to help against the transition game. His ability to anticipate what the opponent will do helps him to get into good positions and intercept passes. He also has a quick stick that knocks the puck away from opponents. Robins is willing to support the defence down low but his lack of size can reduce his effectiveness against stronger opponents. He could also improve in the faceoff circle.
Projection and Comparison
Robins started the season at right wing and struggled a bit. His game really took off when he was moved to the middle of the ice. He will need to improve his strength and his defensive game in order to continue playing this position in the pro ranks. Robins has the potential to be a second or third-line centre if his development goes well. His game is similar to Tyler Johnson. However, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and potential.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Tristen Robins that are available on youtube and twitter.
I'm not sure how or why Tristen Robins was ranked as the 86th best NA skater by CSS, but he deserves to be much higher than that.
He has become a dominant force in the WHL. Far and away Saskatoon's best player, his agility and puck handling combination is deadly. pic.twitter.com/Rnqwt9NzOs
— Ben Misfeldt (@BBMHockey) May 4, 2020
The result of me having some extra time today: A few clips from Tristen Robins' 5 point game against Moose Jaw on February 8th this season (four of them shown here). One of the #2020NHLDraft's more underrated players. pic.twitter.com/TqmttnDUPK
— Sam (@DraftLook) April 7, 2020
Tristen Robins #2020NHLDraft Saskatoon.
He's been rising up draft lists for his creativity and smarts but he's a battler too.
Underrated plays like this make me happy.
He's number 11. Battles along the boards. Ties up a player allowing for a teammate to gain a chance. pic.twitter.com/jqpNljWsBB
— 🐋 Joel Henderson 🥝 (@dathockeydoe) March 19, 2020
Finishing up a video of Tristen Robins who made my Top 31 prospects list but has no highlight videos on Youtube so I had to make my own….
The chemistry between he & Kyle Crnkovic is amazing. Just a couple examples thought I'd share…. pic.twitter.com/NIUOBHCIgv
— ☘️🏒 Sean Patrick Ryan 🏒☘️ (@TheOilKnight) May 6, 2020
— Steinbach Pistons (@MJHLPistons) October 12, 2017
You have to appreciate a good forecheck. Tristen Robins (5'10/174 lbs) with a quality check on Kaiden Guhle (6'3/187 lbs). pic.twitter.com/NUzfVrbYe2
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) May 8, 2020
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Tristen Robins Main Photo:
EVERETT, WASHINGTON – NOVEMBER 22: Saskatoon Blades forward Tristen Robins #11 chases the action during the third period of a game between the Everett Silvertips and the Saskatoon Blades at Angel of the Winds Arena on November 22, 2019 in Everett, Washington. (Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images)