ANAHEIM, Calif. – Although Stephane Robidas isn’t a flashy player, the sturdy defenceman could be exactly what the high-flying Anaheim Ducks need in their Stanley Cup chase.
The Ducks acquired Robidas from the Dallas Stars on Tuesday for a conditional fourth-round pick in this year’s draft.
The overall NHL leaders made three deals on the day before the league’s trade deadline, shaking up their roster with 20 games left in the regular season. Anaheim also sent backup goalie Viktor Fasth to Edmonton and shipped forward Dustin Penner to Washington.
Although the 37-year-old Robidas won’t return from a broken leg for at least two more weeks, the Ducks were eager to acquire a hard-nosed veteran with superior passing skills and a nasty edge to his game.
They’re all attributes Anaheim could use in its attempt to back up its outstanding regular season with playoff success. The Ducks lead the NHL with 91 points and three straight victories heading into Wednesday’s game against Montreal, but they’ve won just one playoff series since winning their franchise’s only Stanley Cup title in 2007.
Robidas knew he probably didn’t have a future with the Stars, who haven’t discussed a contract extension with him. When he heard Anaheim was interested, he jumped at the chance to play in the post-season for the first time since 2008, when Dallas eliminated the defending champion Ducks in the first round.
“We’re going for a Stanley Cup, and that’s what I’ve been waiting for for a long time,” said Robidas, who is joining his fourth NHL club. “I think it’s a great opportunity for me, and I’m just very excited for the chance the Ducks are giving me.”
Robidas hasn’t played since breaking his leg against Chicago on Nov. 29 while crashing into the boards behind the net, but he has been participating extensively in practice. He had four goals and one assist in 24 games for the Stars this season.
“Everything has been going really well,” Robidas said of his recovery. “I’ve just got a few little things I need to get a little more comfortable.”
Robidas should add experience and toughness to a defence that has spent the entire season without veteran Sheldon Souray, who got hurt in summer training. Robidas should be familiar to some Ducks fans from that 2008 playoff series in which Anaheim’s Todd Marchant accidentally broke Robidas’ nose with the puck—and Robidas returned to the game shortly afterward.
“That’s how I play,” Robidas said. “I’m not a finesse player. I know my role. I know what I need to do. I know how I need to play, and I’m not going to change the way I’ve been playing. I’m going to be the same player, and I think that’s why they came and they got me.”
Robidas is seventh in Dallas club history with 704 games played. He has 211 points in two stints with Dallas, his home for all but 45 NHL games since 2002.
The draft pick acquired by the Stars becomes a third-rounder if the Ducks reach the Western Conference finals and Robidas plays in half their playoff games.
The Ducks’ other two deals trimmed their roster heading down the playoff stretch.
Anaheim dealt Fasth to the Edmonton Oilers for a fifth-round pick in 2014 and a third-round pick in 2015, abruptly cutting ties with the long-injured Swedish goalie right before he was expected to return to the club. Fasth has been out since Nov. 18 with muscle inflammation.
The Ducks signed Fasth before last season, and he played well as Jonas Hiller’s backup before injuries kept him out for nearly four months. In his absence, Danish goalie Frederik Andersen emerged as an outstanding alternative, most recently making 49 saves in a victory over Carolina on Sunday.
Andersen is 15-3 with a 2.12 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage this season. Anaheim is rich in goaltending talent with Hiller—a free agent after this season—and elite 20-year-old prospect John Gibson, currently playing well for the Ducks’ AHL team in Norfolk.
Penner had 13 goals and 19 assists in 49 games after the Ducks re-signed him in the off-season for his second stint in Anaheim, where he won his first Stanley Cup ring seven years ago.
Although Penner had every chance to cement his spot on the Ducks’ top line with friends Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, he has been a frequent healthy scratch by coach Bruce Boudreau.
Anaheim got a fourth-round pick for Penner, reacquiring the draft choice sent to Washington for centre Mathieu Perreault earlier this season.