Once again it's that time of year here on Defending Big D where we take a look at each player that suited up for 25 or more games this season (and are still with the team) and take a look back at their season. What was good about it, what wasn't so good, and the lasting impression they left us as we go into summer.
#3 / Defenseman / Dallas Stars
Mar 03, 1977
|2011 - Stephane Robidas||75||5||17||22||-5||48||2||0||1||75|
Key Stat: 35. Or 1977. As in this elder statesman's age. He's getting a little long in the tooth, so to speak. Robidas has two years remaining on his deal at a $3.3 cap hit and will turn 36 years old before next season's playoffs arrive. He's a durable, relentless warrior that's anchored a defense short on talent for years and given his all - But the time will soon come when his minutes will need to be replaced. He co-led the team in ice time this season (22:45) with Alex Goligoski (22:46), but that won't be the case forever. Gulutzan and Nieuwendyk both spoke this year about Robidas needing to manage his body more carefully - Even practicing less.
The Good: Robidas' defensive numbers got better to match the Stars' new outlook under Glen Gulutzan. He recorded his best +/- number in three years (though it was still a -5) and brought his CORSI numbers up considerably from last season as well, all while continuing to play the team's toughest defensive minutes along side new partner Sheldon Souray for the most part. He had to carry the load after an abbreviated off-season due to hip surgery, and said he was playing catch-up for much of the year. Not only did he play through that, but he dealt with a foot injury through the better part of the season as well, but still managed to get 75 games in. His 48 PIMs were his lowest total since 2002-2003 when he recorded just 35 in a full season.
The Bad: Here's another big part of a bad power play, unfortunately. Robidas was second among defensemen in power play time on ice and notched just 9 points on the man advantage while getting just 22 shots on net in 194:19 overall PP time. He recorded just 75 shots on goal overall on the year- this after 106, 199 and 158 shots in his last three. He continues to take too many hits, as he has always done. This year he took, officially, 187 - 70 more than the next closest Star (Fiddler, 117). For the first time we can recall, fans actually turned on Robidas a little as the season wore on for defensive mistakes, even when the numbers didn't warrant it. Nevertheless, his ability to check the ever improving elite lines in the Western Conference could be diminishing with age.
The Bottom Line: As the Stars continue to re-make their defense on the fly with new free agent signings and prospects pushing from below in Dillon, Oleksiak, Nemeth, and so on, Robidas' minutes should continue to come down. He averaged 24:30 under Marc Crawford and saw that come down nearly two full minutes a game this season. That will help keep his body productive through the life of his contract. That being said, unless the Stars sign or trade for a "number one" type big-money guy (unlikely) Glen Gulutzan will continue to rely on Robidas to play the tough minutes next year.
The Vote: Rate Robidas below on a scale of A to F (A being the best of course) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season he was here. Vote after the jump.