On the best Columbus Blue Jacket team ever on paper, there wasn't much room for a 23-year-old Eric Robinson.
A 24-year-old Eric Robinson might do the trick this upcoming season, though.
Robinson will be entering his third season with the Blue Jackets in October, after playing 14 games combined the past two years. His play last season certainly impressed his head coach and gave him a few week-stretch in the forward group.
With the likely loss of three top-12 forwards to the Blue Jackets roster this summer, the undrafted winger out of Princeton is in a strong position to crack the lineup for good in the 2019-2020 season in Columbus.
Eric Robinson was held off the score sheet for all 13 regular season games he played in for the Blue Jackets this past season, which out of context, is a recipe for another majority year in the AHL.
In context, though, Robinson was a spark plug that showed extreme confidence in his limited role, and just barely failed to register a point.
After some forward injuries in the late winter, Robinson made his season debut on Jan. 5 in a win against the Florida Panthers. His most consistent stretch of play came in ten straight games from Feb. 16 to March. 21.
Robinson was seemingly fearless on the ice, no matter what line he was thrown onto. He had 24 hits in his 13 games, which was actually good for fifth on the club in regards to hits per game (among those who played more than ten games). He also averaged more ice time per game than the likes of Markus Hannikainen and Lukas Sedlak who played in about triple the amount of games as Robinson did.
When it comes to explaining away his absence on the score sheet, that can't necessarily be done. It does help though that Robinson had 18 shots in his 13 games, though.
Bottom line: the young forward was certainly not afraid to play in the corners, through his body around and be a part of scoring chances. Such as this one in a home game against the Tampa Bay Lightning in February...
Highlight of the Campaign
With the potential losses of forwards Artemi Panarin, Matt Duchene and Ryan Dzingel in free agency this summer, the door is open for players like Eric Robinson, Liam Foudy, Emil Bemström and many others to sprint right through it.
"He's not afraid. He's not afraid to make plays. He had some mistakes, some turnovers, things that we can teach...There's certainly some things we have to work on, but I love his speed, I love his length. He's just always involved when he's on his shift."– Head Coach John Tortorella on Eric Robinson in February
At 6'2, 200 pounds, Robinson shares the body type and play style of Josh Anderson - a bruising power forward that can help generate chances for himself as much as it can for other more skilled and quick forwards around him.
Can Robinson develop into an Anderson-type talent, or perhaps even a more skilled one? Let's see what this summer, and ultimately October, brings for the winger from New Jersey.
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