Eric Robinson, 6-2, 201 pounds
June 14, 1995 (27 years old)
Signed as college UFA (March 26, 2018)
Cap hit: $1.6M through 2023-24
Role: Fourth line winger
Eric Robinson enters his fifth professional season as one of the most important depth players in the Blue Jackets organization. Originally signed out of college following his senior season as captain for Princeton, he has developed into arguably one of the best fourth line wingers in the NHL. Despite missing time due to a knee injury, the 2021-22 season saw him set career highs in goals (10), assists (17), and points (27), through 67 games played.
Robinson is one of the fastest skaters on the entire team and he has good size, which allows him to be an effective two-way player. He’s become a reliable penalty killer, using his size and speed to break up plays and create chances the other way. He works hard on the forecheck and is often the first player into the corners battling for pucks. He just keeps things simple and plays the game in straight lines, which really is everything you want in a bottom six role player.
While I don’t see him playing in the top-six consistently, he has shown that he can produce here and there when given the opportunity. A lot of people pegged him as the replacement to Josh Anderson when the latter was dealt to Montreal; but Robinson has never been that kind of physical, goal scoring machine. He’s a defensive minded winger that is vital to a team that is loaded with young offensive skill, but not so much prepared to play two-way hockey.
Three Keys to Success
- Don’t overdo it. Robinson doesn’t need to score 40 points to have a successful year with the Blue Jackets, he just needs to be himself. Kill penalties, block shots, be a pest on the forecheck.
- Lead by example. On a team with so many young players being infused into the lineup, it’s important that they see his lunch pail efforts every shift, every game.
- Soft hands. I would argue that he could have doubled his goal scoring totals last season, just by having a better touch around the net. If he does find himself in scoring opportunities, it would be great to see him rewarded for his hard work. Loosen up the grip!
2022-23 Expectation: Shut it down.
I fully expect to see Robinson, Sean Kuraly, and whoever the opposite winger is; accepting and owning defensive zone starts against top opposition. This line being stingy defensively is crucial to this team’s success. When they do get the puck, generating a forecheck in the offensive zone and wearing down defenses should be their main goal. Robinson is very good in this role and he and Kuraly have strong chemistry. If they can do this consistently, this team’s chances of winning will improve greatly. Read: 2022 Season Preview: Jake Bean