John Tortorella Sees Eric Robinson As An Important Player For The Blue Jackets' Future

By Jacob Nitzberg on May 7, 2021 at 6:02 pm
May 5, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Eric Robinson (50) and Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm (14) battle for the puck during the first period at Nationwide Arena.
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Robinson has speed, but he's still working on the other aspects of his game.

He signed with the Blue Jackets as an undrafted free agent out of Princeton, and has been a good fit with the club ever since. Robinson hasn't missed a game this season, playing in all 54 contests while tallying 7-8-15. He's only averaged 12:14 of ice time, too. 

The Princeton product brings a lot of speed to the table, but his overall game still leaves something to be desired. You can't be a one-dimensional player in the NHL, no matter how good that one dimension is.

"He's had a good year," said John Tortorella. "He's been moved up and down the lineup. Whenever we talk about Robby, we talk about his speed, his legs. I think he's done some really good things for us as far as our forechecking, just as far as making our team play fast. He has a ton of things to improve on...his battle level on pucks, understandings how to win battles, his puck skills, which I think have improved this year, awareness as far as coverages...everything that a young player still needs to learn."

The Blue Jackets have certainly had their learning moments this year. After dealing veterans at the deadline and losing more to injury, young players have been thrust into the lineup on a nightly basis.

"There are some times where I don't really think he's played that well at certain times, but it's hard for me to take him out with the speed that he brings," said Tortorella. "I think that (his speed) causes opponents problems as far as backing teams off and the way he can skate. I think he's had a good year. I think he's improving. That's the important part."

The Blue Jackets will wrap up their season with a back-to-back against the Red Wings, tonight and tomorrow at Nationwide Arena. It's a different feel for the Blue Jackets this year, who will be missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2015-16 season.

"It's huge," Robinson said of this weekend. "We want to end the season right and play the right way this weekend and come away with four points. It'd be nice to get a couple more wins in front of (the fans), because they've been supportive and been there through a pretty crazy year."

The Blue Jackets are just one point ahead of Detroit, and both teams have just two games remaining in their schedules. It should be two even contests, and the Blue Jackets want to end on a high note.

"I think they'll be pretty intense games (this weekend)," said Robinson. "We're pretty close in the standings. You want to finish as high as you can. If you can get a couple wins going in, you just feel better going into the offseason, and it'll be more relaxing than if we lose these two."

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