Entering the NHL as a rookie in 2020-21 as a member of the Dallas Stars, Jason Robertson didn’t generate a lot of hype early on. Having been passed through the entire first round of the 2017 Draft, it didn’t seem as though anyone viewed him as a player with the potential to become a superstar. However, fast forward to where we are now, and that is exactly what he is turning into.
With 125 points in 128 career games, one would think the Stars would do anything and everything in their power to ensure he is a part of their roster. However, with October having begun, the 23-year-old is not with the team at training camp as he does not have a contract in place for the 2022-23 season.
Interestingly enough, Stars owner Tom Gaglardi appeared on the Cam & Strick podcast a month ago and was clear that he believes skilled players are being paid too much in the game today, which could very well explain why a contract for Robertson isn’t yet in place. On top of that, well-known insider and former goaltender Kevin Weekes tweeted out on Thursday morning he believes the minimum annual salary to get a deal done for the young star would be $8.4 million.
As of now, the Stars don’t have that much cap available, as they are just $6.3 million away from the maximum. Given Robertson’s value to the organization, one would imagine that they will do anything to keep him around, but the longer this drags out increases the chances of a potential trade being made. With that being said, here are three potential trading partners for the Stars should a contract agreement not be reached.
What got the trade chatter started surrounding Robertson came from the After the Whistle Podcast hosted by former NHLers in Craig Rivet and Andrew Peters. They sent out a tweet Wednesday morning saying that they have heard the Buffalo Sabres have reached out to the Stars regarding their interest in acquiring Robertson.
This deal, at least from a Sabres’ perspective, makes sense for a number of reasons. At this time, they have more than $20 million in cap space, meaning they would have no issue getting Robertson signed to a new deal. They also have a plethora of young talent, both in the form of players on their current roster as well as prospects that they could send the Stars way.
On top of that, they also have first-round picks in each of the next three drafts, and should have zero issue parting with a few of them for a player of Robertson’s caliber. He won’t come cheap, but players like this don’t become available all too often, and he has already proved early on in his career that he is more than worth it. While the Stars certainly don’t want to move him, the Sabres are perhaps their best option at getting a deal done if need be.
Detroit Red Wings
The Yzerplan is really starting to come to fruition for the Detroit Red Wings, a team who many believe may compete for a playoff spot this season. Like the Sabres, they also have plenty of young talent on their roster along with a number of great prospects, all of whom would be of great interest to Stars management.
If Robertson were to be acquired, he would immediately slide in on the left wing of the first line, and likely be placed on a line with Dylan Larkin. This Red Wings team is one that improved plenty in the offseason, and now boast several great forwards in Tyler Bertuzzi, Lucas Raymond, David Perron, Jakub Vrana, Andrew Copp and, of course, Larkin. Adding Robertson to that mix would make them downright scary for the opposition.
While the Red Wings don’t have as much cap space as the Sabres, they still have over $8 million, which would give them enough to get a deal for Robertson done. They do have extensions to worry about in the coming years to players such as Raymond and Moritz Seider, but by then they will have several other contracts coming off the books. Robertson is a player who would really speed things up for this organization, and at the age of 23, would become one of the faces of the franchise moving forward.
Robertson wouldn’t be a fan of being moved to the Arizona Coyotes given their struggles in recent years, but he has no say in what goes on at this point. This is a team who is in the early stages of a rebuild, and would receive a huge boost in acquiring one of the games brightest young stars. Luckily enough, they have all the pieces needed to make a deal happen.
Interestingly enough, the Coyotes have a player of their own who is being discussed heavily in trade chatter in Jakob Chychrun. The 24-year-old defenseman let it be known that he wants to play for a more competitive team, which is exactly what the Stars are. He would be a great starting piece for the ‘Yotes in a potential deal for Robertson, as the Stars’ blue line has some questions given the departure of John Klingberg.
Of course, Chychrun himself wouldn’t be enough to get a deal done. However, the Coyotes have several intriguing prospects in players such as Dylan Guenther and Barrett Hayton, and also have a ton of draft picks in the coming years that they could, and frankly should, be willing to move in a deal for Robertson. This is a potential deal that hasn’t been discussed much, if at all, but could make sense for both organizations.
Robertson a True Game Breaker
As mentioned previously, players like Robertson don’t become available too often. While many will claim he still isn’t available, the fact that the Stars haven’t been able to work out a deal with him yet is very troubling. Not only has it prevented him from getting his feet under him in training camp, but it could very well be straining the relationship between the two sides. At the very least, teams around the league should be doing their due diligence and checking in with the Stars, as acquiring Robertson would be extremely beneficial.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey player who now provides his knowledge of the game through writing. He’s been a very active and reliable source for nearly two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed writer for the Calgary Flames but also does features on other teams throughout the league. Other writing contributions include: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton is also a co-host of both Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content info can be made through him on Twitter. Take a look at his work here.