In early December, we here are Stars Nation highlighted Jason Robertson as a Stars prospect to watch, and in the last two months, he’s continued to put up significant points in the AHL.
With an upper-body injury holding Alexander Radulov out of the eastern Canada road trip, Robertson got his first call up to the NHL against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday, also playing Saturday in Montreal and Sunday in Ottawa.
It was a bit of a roller-coaster for the 20-year-old, who the day before had played a road game with the Texas Stars against the AHL leading Milwaukee Admirals, as was evident from his somewhat breathless (and delightfully charming) post-game interview in Toronto.
Unlike several other young players on the Stars, Robertson doesn’t rely on his speed.
His skating has greatly improved this year in the AHL but at best could be described as laborious at the NHL level.
Robertson does, however, have size, skill, and vision in spades and acquitted himself well in his first NHL call up, getting an assist on the goal that finally broke Tyler Seguin’s extended drought.
Ice-time and deployment of young players have been a concern for Stars fans when it comes to the young forwards, but Robertson played 12-13 minutes in the games against Toronto and Montreal, and a little less against Ottawa (perhaps not surprising in his 4th game in 5 nights). He saw time at both 5v5 and deployment on both the power play and penalty kill across all three games, Derek Laxadal – the Stars power play coach – being familiar with his work on special teams from the Texas Stars.
Overall Robertson, as he himself noted, played a simple game and focused on clean execution, a strategy that worked well and meant he didn’t look out of place in the big show.
In the game against Montreal, in particular, he was one of the Stars stronger forwards statistically (see graph above from evolving-hockey.com) and while it’s early days to be looking at isolated impact, the early indication is that first three games he was at least a serviceable replacement level forward.
It seems likely that we’ll see more from Jason Robertson as a call up over the last six weeks or so of the regular season, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get a full time NHL call up sooner rather than later when the roster shakes out next year.
Featured Image: Ryan Michalesko/The Dallas Morning News