The injury to Stephane Robidas will really hurt the Dallas Stars‘ chances of making the playoffs this year.
While the team is very talented on both ends of the ice, most of the players are quite young, so they need all the veteran presence they can get this season. Robidas will be out between four and six months, and his veteran leadership will surely be missed as he was the defensive leader in a relatively inexperienced squad.
The injury leaves the Stars with a huge void in their blue line, but they have some good young players that can step up in the situation.
Kevin Connauton and Aaron Rome all looked like solid bets to replace the 36-year-old, but the Stars have chosen to go with towering prospect Jamie Oleksiak, a physical specimen that stands at 6-foot-7 and 254 pounds who is solid on both ends of the ice. Even though he doesn’t have much experience at the NHL level, Oleksiak will need to elevate his game to a whole new level if the Stars don’t want to suffer much with the loss of Robidas.
Oleksiak’s play has been highlighted by the coaching staff this weekend as he had a decent outing in the loss against the Edmonton Oilers. He will surely see some time in the penalty killing unit, and it will be a good audition for him as he will look to gain a permanent place in the NHL club after solid performances with the Texas Stars, Dallas’ AHL affiliate.
It’s clear that Oleksiak won’t be able to produce the leadership and the toughness that Robidas brought to the ice on a daily basis, but he will need to be at his best this season to fill the void left by one the Stars’ most experienced players.