“Some teams started to call on him four or five days ago, so I sat down with him and said, ‘Stephane, in the end it really is going to have to be your decision,’” Nill said. “I respect Stephane a lot for what he has meant to the organization. We sat down and I told him there are some teams that are Stanley Cup contenders, top, top contenders and they had called on him, and would you like to max out your opportunity to win a Stanley Cup?
“He said he loved the guys here, I don’t want to leave them. We discussed that and in the end he said it would be a great opportunity, at my age, to go win a Cup. He was very appreciative.”
The 37-year-old Robidas is in the final year of a four-year, $13.2 million contract and will be an unrestricted free agent in July. The Stars already have six defensemen under contract for next season, so the chances of Robidas re-signing in Dallas appeared slim.
Robidas has been out since Nov 29, when he broke his leg in a game against Chicago. He’s still a couple weeks away, and Nill said he believes with the Stars in a fight for a playoff spot, Robidas might have more time to work his way into the lineup with the Ducks, who are in a secure playoff position. That played a factor in making a trade as well.
“Our plan is still to make the playoffs here, he is not coming back to play for another two or three weeks. If he goes to a Stanley Cup contending team, is it going to give him more time,” Nill said.
The Stars received a conditional fourth round pick from Anaheim that will become a third round pick if the Ducks make it to the Western Conference Finals and Robidas plays in half their playoff games.
With Robidas out of the mix, the Stars now have seven NHL defensemen. Nill likes the growth the NHL group has shown over the course of the season, and he likes the depth the organization has with the Texas Stars, including Jamie Oleksiak, Patrik Nemeth, Jyrki Jokipakka, Cameron Gaunce and Maxime Fortunus.
“We think we’ve got lots of depth,” Nill said. “We have a lot of guys up here in the NHL that have really improved, that excites us. The guys that are knocking on the door down in Texas, they deserve an opportunity if it arises.”
Robidas, a Montreal draft pick in 1995, has played 871 NHL games, including 704 with the Stars.
“He was a big part of this team for many years. I got to build a great relationship with him. He was a heart-and-soul, warrior kind of guy,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “It’s tough to see him leave but he’s been working hard since he got injured to get back in this lineup and he’s got a good chance to make something happen here so we definitely wish him the best of luck.”
“He taught me how to be a professional in every aspect of life, at the rink and away from the rink,” said Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon, who often was paired with Robidas. “He’s a great player. His résumé speaks for itself. He’s a guy I credit a lot for helping me get to this level and do what I do at this level. He’s a great guy and he is definitely going to be missed. At the same time, I wish him all the best in Anaheim.”
Quotable: Ducks GM Bob Murray on the trade for Stephane Robidas
“If I could get a right-handed shooting defenseman, a sort of shutdown-type of guy who plays hard, we were going to try to accomplish that. That was one of our needs. Getting Stephane, who I’ve always liked for how hard he competes, how hard he plays, can do more than shut down. He actually played on the second power play at times. It was an opportunity, so we took it. He’s coming in on Thursday and he’s happy.
“I like that player a lot. I always have. I love how he plays the game of hockey. I love the passion he plays with every night. He fits good for me.
“You’re always trying to make your hockey team better. This makes our team more difficult to play against. Just go ask our forwards. They didn’t enjoy playing against this guy.”
Peverley misses game with injury
Rich Peverley missed Tuesday’s game with an upper body injury, but he’s not expected to be out for long.
“Pevs is fine. He’ll be ready to play on Thursday,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff.
The Stars recalled forward Chris Mueller from the Texas Stars to take Peverley’s spot in the lineup. Mueller, playing in his first game with Dallas since the season opener against Florida, had no points and one shot in 9:17 of ice time. He started the game on a line with Shawn Horcoff and Valeri Nichushkin and then in the third period saw some time on the top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.
*The Stars are 2-2-0 since the Olympic break.
*The Stars have been outscored 6-0 in the first period over the last three games.
*With Tuesday’s goals by Alex Goligoski and Trevor Daley, the Stars got two goals from defensemen for the second straight game.
*The Stars were 1-3 on the power play and 1-2 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars outshot the Blue Jackets 33-20. Jamie Benn led the Stars with six shots on goal.
*The Stars won 27 of 66 (41 percent) of faceoffs. Vernon Fiddler won 11 of 16. Jamie Benn won 5 of 15. Cody Eakin won 5 of 16. Columbus’ Artem Anisimov won 14 of 18.
*The Stars are 10-12-2 vs. the Eastern Conference.
Ray Whitney – Tyler Seguin – Jamie Benn
Erik Cole – Cody Eakin – Alex Chiasson
Antoine Roussel – Vernon Fiddler –Ryan Garbutt
Valeri Nichushkin – Shawn Horcoff – Chris Mueller
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Jordie Benn – Brenden Dillon
Aaron Rome – Sergei Gonchar
Injured: Rich Peverley (upper body)
Scratched: Kevin Connauton
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.