3 Players Stars Fans Have Fallen in Love With in 2021-22

The Dallas Stars look a lot different this season than they did in 2020-21. That’s partially due to some new faces appearing in the lineup, as well as some older ones finally making a name for themselves. While fans are still behind longtime Stars like Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, folks are shifting their attention to something new and also exciting. Some young players are building their fanbases this season, hoping to gain respect from those in Texas.

In the Valentine’s Day spirit, it seems only appropriate to name three players that Stars fans have absolutely fallen in love with in 2021-22.

Jason Robertson’s Can-Do Attitude Makes Him Elite 

Many may have looked the other way when it came to Jason Robertson in the 2020-21 season. Though his numbers were nothing to scoff at (he put up 45 points by the end of the season), he didn’t stand out as one of the players to watch. This season, it’s a different story — he’s been a consistent point-per-game player, he’s on a top-performing line with Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz (who fans have also fallen in love with this season), and he’s shown to be both an offensive and defensive forward. 

The 6-foot-3 forward has not only turned the head of his coach and team but also fans this season. In the Stars’ recent game against the Winnipeg Jets on Feb. 11, the winger netted the game-winning goal in overtime after an impressive feed from John Klingberg that resulted in a sneaky shot. That was Robertson’s 20th goal of the season. 

The forward continues to elevate his game each time he steps onto the ice, and he keeps finding ways to prove he’s only going to get better. He hunts the puck like a veteran and is efficient with the puck every single time it’s on his stick. 

“He’s something else. He’s so smart…He keeps surprising. He’s so smart in different ways. He’s a really good all-around hockey player.”

Stars defenseman John Klingberg

“Hockey IQ” is not something new for “Robo” — it’s always been there, even in his Ontario Hockey League (OHL) days. 

“He’s got elite offensive sense and elite skills,” Stars head coach Rick Bowness said. “Sometimes, you just have to let him go where he thinks he should be, and you’ve got to trust him with that.”

Related: Stars’ Second-Half Success Will Rely on Roope Hintz

Though a young player, Robertson has been a huge asset to the team this season, and will hopefully continue to be as the season winds down. He’s eager to gain experience and willing to learn. He’s a positive energy on the team. He has his linemates to lean on, and they respect him. And after 90 NHL games, he’s showing no signs of stopping.

Jake Oettinger Earns His Time in Net

Just like Robertson, Jake Oettinger has only been one to watch this season. Though he is often overlooked due to the presence of veteran goaltender Braden Holtby, he also had an impressive performance in the game against the Jets, in which he came up big for the team. Bowness praised the goaltender for being aware of what needs to get done when the pressure is on. 

Jake Oettinger Dallas Stars
Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The goaltender has recently been placed in the net for more important games as the playoffs draw nearer. His save percentage is nearly matched with that of Holtby, who seemed to be the most surprising netminder of the two in terms of numbers. Now, it’s looking like Oettinger might snub him for the spot. 

[He] has done a very good job. He’s been solid, and he’s learning, and we know he’s going to have ups and downs at his age, but I think he’s done a great job for a second-year pro.

Stars general manager Jim Nill 

The game against the Jets on Feb. 11 marked the 23-year-old’s fourth consecutive start, proving Bowness is putting more onus on him as the season progresses. And perhaps, rightfully so. Oettinger has become a face to remember in the sense that he shows up and shows initiative, which makes fans believe in him that much more. 

He has little time left to prove he’s perfected his moves between the pipes, but with each game, he looks a little more steady and is becoming a favourite among Dallas fans.  

Jacob Peterson Already Playing Like a Veteran

If one NHL rookie is on track to win the affections of Stars’ fans, it’s Jacob Peterson. The 22-year-old Swede has 11 points so far this season, with nine goals and two assists. He impressed in the pre-season and managed to secure a spot on the regular-season roster. 

Much like the other Stars favourites mentioned above, Peterson also had an impressive night in the game against the Jets on Friday. He sent one off his skate in the second period to tie the game at 1-1. He’s smart with his stickhandling and a fast skater, making him nearly unstoppable on certain plays. He moves with the skill of a player who’s had years in the league already. 

He’s also been “fitting in” with the veterans — the forward has found some fun chemistry in linemate Alexander Radulov. 

He’s also filled in appropriately when needed — take, for example, when Robertson was injured in January of this season, the forward took his place on a line with Hintz and Pavelski and filled the gap.  It’ll be interesting to see how he evolves if he stays with the Stars, but one thing’s for sure — the young gun is only going forward and is on track to be an integral part of the Dallas lineup. 

Jacob Peterson Dallas Stars
Jacob Peterson, Dallas Stars (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

While there are arguably several more players that are fan favourites on the roster, both newer and veterans, these players won’t soon be forgotten by Dallas hockey lovers. They’ve made lasting impacts on their team so far, both in the dressing room and on the ice. As the 2021-22 season comes to an end, whether they make the playoffs or not, there is no doubt that these three players will do whatever it takes to try, at the very least.

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