In Jason Robertson’s Defense: A review of two rounds

Mar 18, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Dallas Stars left wing Jason Robertson (21) against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 18, 2023; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Dallas Stars left wing Jason Robertson (21) against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

While it is true that Jason Robertson needs to score more goals in the post-season, his performance has still been good – just not in the way fans expected. Despite not having any goals in the second-round series against the Seattle Kraken, the young forward is still a top-3 points leader for the team. Coming behind only Roope Hintz, Robertson is doing what he does best: sneaking his way to success.

Jason Robertson has been relatively overlooked in the NHL until recently. He was rated behind Kirill Kaprizov and has subtly forced his way to the front alongside his teammates. By typical success markers, it definitely seems like Robertson isn’t holding up his end of the bargain scoring-wise. Yet he and the Stars are in the Western Conference Finals, and they’ve been breaking records along the way.

Jason Robertson: A Quick Playoff Point Tally

Despite the goals column only having two goals from Game 1 and Game 5 of the series against Minnesota, Robertson is tied with Hintz on assists. He has notched 10 assists for 12 points, which isn’t exactly slouching. It’s been effective and helpful, yet it just doesn’t feel like enough at this point in the post-season.

He’s tied for playoff goals with team captain Jamie Benn but had a 13-goal differential from him in the regular season. Benn’s game is much more physical than Robertson’s, and the veteran has had to make many adjustments in his role and playing style. However, the captain also has more playoff experience overall, while Robertson has only had a small taste and seems to be easing in.

With Robertson’s break-out season, it’s no wonder fans have been expecting more from him. 8 of his 12 points have involved the power play, leaving 4 assists on even strength. It’s no secret that the Stars have seen power play success, though this attribute wasn’t on display much during the series against the Kraken.

This has left him mostly scoreless this post-season. An improvement on 5-on-5 would be very welcome. However, during the regular season, Robertson’s totals show an assist-heavy picture that adds up to 100+. His point total was not made up primarily of goal scoring, even if it was a 46 goals season. His strength thus far has been in assisting his teammates.

Jason Robertson: A Team Effort Through Individual Commitment

Within the first two series, there’s no question that Jason Robertson seemingly played a timid game. His physicality has gradually increased with each game that passes, but he’s had a hard time getting the puck to the back of the net. It hasn’t been for a lack of trying. He took 22 shots against Minnesota and 15 against Seattle for a total of 37 shots.

In comparison, his linemate Roope Hintz took 15 shots against Minnesota and 25 against Seattle for a total of 40. There is only a 3-shot differential, yet there’s still a 7-goal separation between the two. The goalies Dallas has faced have put up some serious challenges and made saves in big moments, but Hintz has been able to break through where Robertson hasn’t.

That isn’t the whole picture, as Robertson assisted equally in both series. He assisted Hintz on goals twice in both series. Against Minnesota, Robertson helped Seguin with three goals of the veteran’s break-out offensive streak after Pavelski was out with injury. Against Seattle, he assisted Pavelski three times as well. From one perspective, this could be seen as offense consistency since his production hasn’t gone down outside of the 2 power-play goals he scored.

In terms of numbers and statistics, Jason Robertson looks simultaneously good and “bad”. He’s putting in effort and finding some success, just not in the most noticeable corners. He’s been stealthily helping his teammates, which has proven beneficial up to this point. Yet Wyatt Johnston, only 19 for most of the past two rounds, has more goals and has only slightly fewer shots on net – though not as many assists.

Despite his inexperience, he has also been a little quicker to dig into some plays. Robertson has a very calculating, skills-centric way of playing, which at times doesn’t include the physicality needed at this time of year.

Facing Off Against the Knights: What Can Be Improved?

Physicality is a key component that helps teams find success in the playoffs. Yet that isn’t the only option on the table for Jason Robertson. He could improve his physicality and dig into plays more aggressively, potentially gaining more quality scoring chances for himself. Another thing he could do is find out how to make his style of play actually work more efficiently in a playoff setting.

Playoffs are undoubtedly a higher intensity that doesn’t always allow for long set-ups or extended offensive zone time. Hintz excels partly due to his speed and ability to break away, getting to highly vulnerable spots fast.

Robertson needs to find out his core attribute and make it show a bit more – even if it ends up just being a speedier assisting role that increases its efficiency in the next round. His numbers must come off the page more noticeably if he wants to present himself as a visible threat fans can see in real time during games.

At this point, some of his goal-scoring slumps appear to be purely bad puck luck, which could break at any time. While his sneaky assisting will definitely be beneficial against Vegas, Robertson needs to bring the rest of his depth from the regular season to the Western Conference Final and add another consistently dangerous element to the Stars’ arsenal.

Jason Robertson has actually done relatively well from certain angles thus far, but fans are hoping to see him shift into a higher gear in the upcoming round against the Vegas Golden Knights.