On the 32 Thoughts podcast on Monday, Jeff Marek shared an interesting tidbit relating to Dallas Stars forward Jason Roberston and the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
Apparently, the Florida Panthers were very eager to draft Jason Robertson in 2017. Robertson was projected to go later than the first round, so the Panthers opted to select forward Owen Tippett with their 10th overall pick.
But with pick #40 in the second round, Florida felt strongly that they had a real chance at grabbing Robertson. And as more and more picks went by without mentioning his name, Florida only needed to get through one more pick to be able to claim their guy. That pick belonged to the Dallas Stars.
As we know, the Stars selected Robertson with the #39 overall pick in the second round, one pick ahead of the aforementioned Panthers. According to Marek, there was 'some salty language' thrown around the Panthers Draft table once the Stars pick was announced. Florida, instead, selected forward Aleksi Heponiemi.
How it turned out: Tippet recorded 33 points in 94 games before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for Claude Giroux at the end of the 2021-22 season. Heponiemi (23) is still in the Panthers system and has recorded five points in 22 career NHL games.
Robertson, on the other hand, has exploded onto the scene in the NHL. The 23-year-old forward finished as the runner-up for the Calder Trophy (best rookie) in 2020-21, scored 40 goals in 2021-22, and went on a Dallas Stars-best 18-game point streak that led him to the second-most goals (23) and third-most points (42) at this point in the season.
It is not hard to figure out why the Panthers were so upset and it is very likely that that feeling has only multiplied with Robertson's rapid success. What would the career of Jason Robertson look like in South Florida? The Stars are thrilled that they do not have to find out.