The list of players that had a better January than Jason Robertson isn't that lengthy.
With 15 points in 11 games, Robertson was 28th among all NHLers in points, with his 1.36 points-per-game average good for 16th. That's all the Dallas Stars can ask for out of their sophomore forward, who has emerged quickly as one of the league's better young forwards.
And in a way, he's still mightily underrated. Named to the NHL all-rookie team last year, Robertson had an excellent freshman campaign with 45 points in 51 games for a Stars team that ultimately missed the playoffs. He then finished second in scoring with USA's World Championship team with nine points in 10 games en route to a surprise bronze medal, showcasing that given the opportunity, Robertson can be a top-end player.
He's proving that once more in Dallas this season.
Robertson is second in scoring on the Stars with 40 points in 34 games despite missing time this season due to injuries and COIVD-19 protocols. Robertson has helped Dallas' top line with Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski shine on a near-nightly basis, giving the team a bit of comfort with players like Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov not performing at the level that they once did.
None of this is surprising, either. Robertson was always one of the more feared goal-scorers in the OHL with Kingston and Niagara, posting 317 points in 252 games. He has good size too at 6-foot-3 and 201 pounds, but Robertson's lackluster skating was what pushed him out of the first round conversation.
And Dallas really benefited from that. Get him the right setup man and it doesn't matter how he skates – and even so, Robertson's footwork has improved with NHL coaching, too.
Let's dig a bit deeper into the stats. Among players with at least 400 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time – essentially, full-time top-six forwards – Robertson is 23rd among forwards and 10th among wingers with a Corsi-for percentage of 56.52. His 64.15 goals-for percentage is 18th, his expected goals-for of 60.42 is sixth and most other notable categories are in the top 20. Robertson's 27 points at 5-on-5 is good for 15th, and his 3.39 points-per-60 is good for sixth, highlighted by an impressive 2.39 goals-per-60.
In English? Robertson is having one heck of a campaign – and it comes at an interesting time.
Robertson is in the final year of his entry-level contract, meaning he'll be a restricted free agent come the summer. There's enough evidence to show that he's a bonafide player for Dallas and will be paid accordingly. It would be in GM Jim Nill's best interest to sign him for as long as possible, and as soon as possible, because the cost is only going to rise.
And it's not going to get easier to sign him, either. Alex Radulov is a pending UFA and will likely walk, but what about the team's leading scorer, Joe Pavelski? At 37, he's still playing great hockey on a $7 million AAV. Denis Gurianov brings value, although he shouldn't be too expensive. John Klingberg's name has been on the rumor mill, but the Stars definitely would love to keep him involved as long as they can, if they can. He's a 29-year-old UFA who should get paid nicely. And then there's the goalie situation: the only goalie signed next year is Anton Khudobin, who's just sitting around waiting for an opportunity. That means Jake Oettinger will need a new deal, and the Stars could elect to keep Braden Holtby after a strong first half from the veteran.
So, the contract discussions will keep things spicy. Ideally, the Stars would sign him as early as possible, but there isn't exactly a need right now, anyways. Right now, the Stars are focused on trying to claw back the nine-point deficits to Minnesota and St. Louis to get back into the Central Division playoff conversation. The Stars have played decent as of late, posting an 8-5-0 record since Jan. 1, but St. Louis and Minnesota have the same number of wins in that time frame. The Stars need to play better as a group, simple as that.
But at the very least, the numbers have shown just how impactful Robertson has been for this team and will continue to show why he's a valuable NHLer. He's the highest scoring player to come out of the second round of the 2017 draft with 86 points in 88 games, which is an incredible stat line given it isn't exactly a small sample given the limited schedule he has had to work with already in his career.
Stars fans, you know what you have in Robertson. Cherish it, because he's going to be an important figure for years to come.