It was not much of a surprise that the Dallas Stars traded away Stephane Robidas, but there is still a shock that resonates with Stars fans.
Stephane Robidas spent parts of 11 seasons with the Stars. Most of his career was spent as an underrated defenseman on a relatively unknown team, yet he is still considered a highly respected and valued player around the hockey world. He does not talk very much. He just lets his play do the talking for him. He is not very big. He just plays a much bigger game than his body indicates. His scarred face and body showcases not just what happened to him during his years of playing in the NHL, but rather what he did for his team during his career.
Robidas was the heart and soul of the Dallas defense for several years, especially recently. He was a leader, mentor and warrior. He sacrificed his body on nearly every play and continued on as if it was a mere formality each time. When the Stars had no true top defenseman, he stepped up and filled that role as best as he could. He took the role of mentor to Brenden Dillon, who by no coincidence is primed to be the future of team on defense. He took Dillon into his home and showed him how to be a professional on and off the ice.
Yet, with all the positives Robidas brought. It was time for the Stars to move on. It was not that his play diminished his season or that his injury was career-ending. Robidas simply moved on to greener pastures and General Manager Jim Nill, found the best opportunity to benefit the Stars in this situation.
Good luck in Anaheim to Stephane Robidas, maybe the toughest player I ever played with. Great guy too! Ducks will love this guy.
— Stu Barnes (@barnes_stu) March 4, 2014
A day before the trade deadline, Robidas was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a conditional fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft. The pick turns into a third-round selection if the Ducks advance past the first two rounds of the playoffs with Robidas playing in half of the playoff games.
At the age of 37, the broken leg Robidas suffered against the Chicago Blackhawks on Novemeber 29 was not career-ending, but it did set him back tremendously this season. If the Stars held on to Robidas, it would have been difficult to ease him back into the lineup. The Ducks are deep on defense and are fighting for seeding not a playoff spot, so they have the ability to ease him back into the lineup. The Stars, on the other hand, would need his immediate help when available, and the games are not going to get any easier or less physical as the season moves along. Especially for a team in Dallas’ situation fighting for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Nill did the right thing in approaching Robidas with options prior to the deadline. He did the right thing as a human being by awarding a tremendous opportunity to a player who sacrificed so much over so long for the team. Even though Nill was here for only a few months of Robidas’ tenure in Dallas, he knew what the veteran defenseman record.
Sending Robidas to a Stanley Cup contender not only was helpful to the player, but to the organization as well. This move can be referenced in the future when other players consider being traded here or joining as a free agent. Nill is establishing an identity for the team on the ice, and this move also helped establish an identity off the ice. The Stars can now be seen as a family, an organization that takes care of its players and will do right by the team and the player.
Now the Stars have an additional pick in the upcoming draft, giving them nine total. With Nill’s credibility and renowned drafting ability he can turn that into a strong addition through the draft or as a trade chip to bring in a valuable piece through trade in the summer.
While it was tough to see Robidas leave Dallas, it is important to remember that the move helps him get a chance to achieve the ultimate dream of winning a championship before retiring, and it helps the Stars in the form of future help through a roster addition.
A tough move, but the right move.
Mohammad received his Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Texas at Arlington with a minor in English.