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Stephane Robidas: A Dallas Stars Career Retrospective

Stephen Dunn

The next time Stephane Robidas will take the ice in the NHL will be as a member of the Anaheim Ducks. The Stars dealt Robidas to the Ducks in exchange for a conditional fourth round pick.

Yes, Robidas is hurt. He will be out about two more weeks

Yes, the return is virtually insignificant.

It sounds as if the Stars more or less approached Robidas with the opportunity to chase a Stanley Cup with a team closer to contention.

Nill explained the process in the trade recap penned by Mike Heika for The Dallas Morning News:

"It probably started five days ago when I started getting calls from some pretty good teams about Stephane, and I went and had a talk with him," said Nill. "I just presented the options to him and said that there are some very good teams, teams with a serious chance to win the Stanley Cup, and they are interested in trading for you. Do you want me to take a look at the options?"

"Stephane said he didn’t want to leave his teammates, but that he would like the ability to know what teams were out there and what his options were, and we moved forward," Nill said of the fact Robidas had a no-trade clause. "I think it was a very tough decision for him, but I think we both wanted to make sure that everyone was happy, and we were doing what was best for everyone involved."

Teams asked the Stars about Robidas. The Stars asked Robidas if he wanted a chance to play for a Stanley Cup. He did, and from the sounds of it he picked where he felt he would have the best opportunity to win a championship. It would have been nice for the Stars to get more for him, but this trade was about doing right for Robidas it appears.

And that's fine. The Stars have played without Robidas for a long time now. It would have been great for Robidas to get back into the Stars lineup and contribute as they made it back into the playoffs. That isn't going to happen though. The Stars have a younger defense group they are committing to, and the depth is strong. Robidas moving on makes sense.

His departure is going to be noticeable. Robidas joined the Stars for the first time during the 2002-2003 season. The Montreal Canadiens waived him. The Atlanta Thrashers claimed him. The Thrashers then sent him to Dallas for future considerations. It's easy to forget that the Stars actually traded him away early in the 2003 season with a second round pick to acquire Jon Klemm and a fourth rounder from the Blackhawks.

The Stars almost never reaped any rewards from Robidas. Fortunately he came back to the Stars after the lockout. He's been here ever since. During that time he has developed into one of the top defensemen in hockey, and easily the most underrated player in the game. He played the game as hard as anyone in the league. The number of times he got physically destroyed then bounced right up was worth the price of admission to a Stars game alone. He was always a physical wonder.

Calling the ability to take a beating his calling card would be severely underselling his abilities. Robidas' prime asset has always been his defense. In recent years he has shifted fully into a defensive shutdown defender. Last year he and Brenden Dillon were among the top shutdown pairs in the league. Robidas' impact will be felt for years in the lessons he imparted on Dillon. It's truly a shame we didn't get to see more of that pair in action.

Over a four year stretch from the 2009 season until the 2012 season Robidas averaged over 23 minutes per game. He made his only All Star appearance 2009. His top offensive season came in 2010 when he registered 41 points. Those days are long gone, but he still has game.

The Ducks are a wonderful fit for a healthy Robidas. Reportedly the Ducks are going to use him on a defensive pairing with Francois Beauchemin. An already strong Ducks team now potentially has an elite defensive unit to help them get deep into the playoffs.

Unfortunately, one of the Ducks most likely first round opponents is the Stars. This is the thread that makes the trade so fascinating to me. It's great for Robidas that he has a chance to play for a Stanley Cup, but this nice deed by Jim Nill could come back to bite the Stars in less than two months. Nill was right when he said there is room for kindness in professional sports, but boy, how is this story going to look if the Stars make the playoffs playing Anaheim? What if they can't score to save their lives against the Ducks with Robidas leading the charge? The small return is going to look bad, kindness or not.

We can deal with that if and when it happens. For now, let us look back on the essential Stephane Robidas in three videos. The best starting point with a career retrospective is always a video of a player connecting numerous punches with the jaw of Sean Avery:

Sean Avery vs Stephane Robidas (via pjstock20)

Robidas drilling Patrick Kane:

Stephane Robidas drills Patrick Kane (via HockeyArchive)

Robidas getting crushed by Scott Nichol then popping right up:

Scott Nichol crushes Stephane Robidas [HD] (via HockeyArchive)

Are these three videos the definitive highlights of his career? No, but they show the type of player he has been for the Stars. Despite his stature he has always been a physical player who developed over time into a very reliable defensive player. The Ducks acquired a wonderful player,

If the Stars are unable to win the Cup this season I will have no qualms rooting for the Robidas to get his even if it's as a Duck. Robidas first joined this franchise when I was a junior in high school. I'm now pushing 30. Mike Modano's retirement and the span of time he was part of my sports consciousness made me do a double take. The Robidas tenure has done something similar.

Robidas really has been here a long time. He was a part of some very good teams, and part of teams during the darkest times of the franchise. He will be missed. I think I speak on behalf of all of Defending Big D when I say we wish him the best.