Stars Get Necessary Lineup Depth with Jacob Peterson Call-Up

Jacob Peterson is doing more than alright. While he was supposed to spend the season with the Texas Stars in Cedar Park, he now finds himself in a position every prospect wants to find themselves: on the Dallas Stars roster. The center has slipped right in with the team, presumably to replace an injured Jason Robertson at the start of the regular season. He wasn’t originally on the final roster for opening night, but he’s done nothing but prove he is meant to be there so far.

Peterson’s Prime Preseason

Maybe Peterson was just showing off, or he was trying hard, but the center put his skills on full display and impressed in the preseason. At 22 years old, the fifth-round draft seemed as though he would make the regular-season roster. He played on lines with both Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov during training camp, adjusting well to the level of the pros. Stars head coach Rick Bowness said he played smart, with poise and confidence, admiring his game from the second he watched him during training camp. 

“He’s fitting in with whoever he’s playing with. Guys love playing with him because he’s got such good hockey sense. He kills penalties, he’s good on the power play. We want to keep looking at him, but he’s put himself in a serious position to make the hockey club. He’s been that good.”

– Stars head coach Rick Bowness
Jacob Peterson, Dallas Stars
Jacob Peterson, Dallas Stars (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Peterson also became somewhat of an exception before the season began. He was the 14th forward chosen by the Stars coaching staff, causing them to move away from the typical 13 forwards and place him in the thick of the lineup, which is no small feat. 

How Peterson Stacks Up

The Swede was noticeable right from the start of training camp, turning heads with his intense hockey smarts, seeing plays and knowing where he needed to be on the ice. Bowness said he has fit in with anyone he played with, even the veteran players. He demonstrated how well he sees the ice and his teammates noticed. 

“I think his skill is the first thing, but the thing I noticed right away was his confidence and his mind. He’s not your typical rookie.”

– Stars forward Tyler Seguin

Bowness also praised the prospect, complementing his hockey sense, his poise during plays, his intelligence and his ability to pick up on every little detail. The center is versatile and he proved this versatility in the game on Oct. 14 against the New York Rangers. 

“He makes plays, he kills penalties and he’s good on the power play. We want to keep looking at him, but he’s put himself in a position, in a serious position, to make the hockey club. He’s been that good.” 

– Stars head coach Rick Bowness

It was his NHL debut, on a line with Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski, replacing Robertson, and scoring the first goal of the night, and his first NHL goal at that. The moment, even just being there, meant a lot to Peterson and left quite the impression. 

“He played tonight like he’s played all of training camp. Very smart, very poised and confident with the puck. Very skilled. Scored a great goal for us. I really liked his game, but we’ve liked him every day since training camp. He’s a good player.”

– Stars head coach Rick Bowness (The Athletic, “Jacob Peterson’s storybook night to Miro Heiskanen’s game-winning shot, Stars hockey is back”, 10/15/21)

He is looking more and more attractive to the roster as the season goes on and if his debut was simply a preview, there is much more to look forward to from him. 

Related: Stars Prospects Set Up For Success

Peterson Finds His Place in Stars Lineup

Peterson may be new to the NHL, but being on a line with Hintz and Pavelski certainly can help a player adjust. The two were integral in propelling Robertson further into his professional career last season and they could help set up this Swedish center for a similar situation. His challenge is to keep up with the two skillful forwards, but he is doing it so far, playing at the same physical level as both Hintz and Pavelski and calculating every play like he’s done it a million times. 

“They’re two great players, and they help me a lot in practices. I feel comfortable with them. Two great players — Hintz with his speed, and Pavelski is a smart player. It’s going to be easy to play with those guys. They’re going to help me a lot. It feels great.”

– Jacob Peterson

His linemates were impressed, too, especially during his first game, where he read plays like an NHL veteran.

“I was never worried about him.”

– Stars forward Joe Pavelski

At the Stars’ practice on Oct. 24, ahead of the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the lines have shuffled (once again) and Peterson finds himself on a line with Jamie Benn and Radulov, two veteran players with intense offensive prowess and fast skating legs. Bowness may be testing the center’s abilities by putting him with top liners, or he may be asking him to prove he should stick around. 

Peterson’s Future With The Stars

Now the question remains: has Peterson’s success so far been merely a stroke of luck, or is he actually shaping up to be exactly what the roster needs? His achievements in the NHL came quickly and he’s managed to maintain consistency all the way to his first goal in that first regular-season game. He’s played five games with the Stars now, and that single goal remains his only point so far. But with new linemates in his midst and a confident persona continuing to build from the preseason, the center is feeling right at home, naturally. 

“I’ve always been confident in myself. I feel like when I’m on the ice, I just got to rely on myself and rely on my hockey sense. I’ve always done that. I’ve got to keep doing that.”

– Jacob Peterson

The Peterson storyline is one of the more interesting of the season. Stars hockey is ramping up and he’s sure to be a major player as the games unfold and the team edges closer (hopefully) to the playoffs. If he keeps up his confidence and fleshes out his already rampant skills, Peterson won’t be going anywhere but up, demonstrating that not only did he get that 14th roster slot, he also earned it. 

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