Jason Robertson met with the media for the first time since signing his new four-year contract extension with the Dallas Stars. Unsurprisingly, his first reaction to ending this holdout and re-joining his team:
“The first thing was relief,” Robertson said. “You never want to stay out this long, especially with the season starting in a week. Things gained momentum yesterday and it is definitely relief. I am just getting that excitement back, have the little jitters going that the season is going to start soon and I’m going to be part of it.”
Robertson missed exactly two weeks dating back to training camp, including five of the Stars six preseason games. During that time and over the summer, the 23-year-old tried his best to stay relaxed and confident that a deal was coming soon. That was easier said than done.
“You don’t know what’s going to happen,” Robertson said. “The waiting period of August/July was kind of slow but everything picked up in September. I kind of got antsy because you don’t know when it’s going to happen and you realize it takes time. All you can do now is enjoy these next four years.”
The summer was relatively unchanged for Robertson, as he worked out with his brother Nick and trained with his skills coach. What did change was his area of focus, as he worked to improve a couple of specific skills heading into 2022-23.
“I have been working on what I did last year, the last couple years,” he said. “Skill stuff with my coach, battling, a lot of one-timers, I am trying to implement that into my game, [and] staying strong on the puck. Trying to get more speed through the neutral zone is one thing I really emphasized because I think I get stuck on the blue line a little bit too much.
“I'm always going to be the same person I am whether you’re making 10’s of millions or you’re making ELC,” Robertson added. “I am always a laid-back guy so I don’t put too much pressure on myself.”
Robertson skated with a local U-18 team over the last week in order to get some game scenarios and drills to hopefully ramp up for his return to the NHL ice.
In his return, a lot will be different. Dallas has an entirely new coaching staff under Pete DeBoer, brand-new systems, and plenty of new faces in the dressing room. But as you can see in his on-ice game, Robertson is highly confident in his hockey sense and believes he will be able to get up to speed relatively quickly.
“I know there is a whole coaching staff and everything is new there, but I think I am a great learner and a fast learner so I don’t think it will take me too long to get adjusted,” Robertson said. “That’s part of being a professional hockey player, to adjust.”
After a hectic day that ended in his contract extension, Robertson received a call from his new coach around one in the morning. Today, he showed his excitement about the changes that the team made over the summer.
"He seemed very excited and I am excited too, '' Robertson said. “He was brought in to do something, to spice it up. I have read everything and everyone seems to be excited, a lot to look forward to. We want to win games, we want to make the playoffs. The front office brings them in to do that and it gets the players excited.”
One thing that has felt to be missing in Dallas is full buy-in from up and down the lineup. This season, things feel different. Nearly every player has discussed their excitement and commitment to the new system and how they believe it will make the Stars a more dangerous and well-rounded team. While Robertson wasn’t able to be with his teammates, he has stayed in constant communication throughout the process, and what he has heard just adds to his excitement about the potential of this club.
“They have said nothing but good things,” he said. “Practices have been pretty hard but not too long. They are trying to score more goals and get some more players involved. Definitely as a goal scorer myself, you get excited about that when you have more people wanting to attack and score more goals.”
Robertson is scheduled to get his physical tomorrow and skate with the team in practice. If things go well, he will be an option for the preseason finale on Saturday night in Minnesota.