How growing up in an NHL locker room helped mold Hurricanes’ high-octane prospect Justin Robidas

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      Justin Robidas’s name sounds familiar to a lot of hockey folks.

      That’s because the Quebec Remparts star is the son of former NHLer and current Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Stephane Robidas. The elder statesman played 17 seasons in the NHL and even participated in the 2009 all-star game while with Dallas. He finished his career in 2015 with Toronto, which, you might want to look at the history into how that all came to a close if you’re not a Leafs fan.

      And now, it’s time for Justin to make his mark. He didn’t follow into his dad’s footsteps to become a defender. Instead, caught his eye.

      The 20-year-old Carolina Hurricanes prospect signed his entry-level contract on May 31, marking the next big step in his development. And he thanks his father, and the opportunities presented to him as a big reason why he now has a pro hockey contract.

      “You know, as a kid, you don’t really realize it; not a lot of people get to live that life,” Robidas said. “I saw the big stage; I saw what it was like to play in that moment. It was definitely fun to be able to live that through my Dad and prepare me for my future.”

      Robidas spent much of his childhood following his father around at rinks, getting exposed to the best players in the world. Whether it be Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn or Phil Kessel, there were no shortage of talented players wherever his dad went.

      “When I wouldn’t have school, I would be at the rink and playing mini sticks with all the other NHL kids. I think those are fun memories, being with those guys and seeing that lifestyle at a young age,” Justin said.

      Robidas notched 25 goals and 78 points this past season with Val-d’Or and Quebec. He registered a team-leading 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) in 18 playing games, helping the Remparts claim the Gilles Corteau Trophy as QMJHL champions.

      Growing up in an NHL locker room has helped prepare him for the big stage, including the Memorial Cup. Led by legendary former NHLer Patrick Roy, Robidas and the Quebec Ramparts won the CHL’s top championship over the weekend with a big win over Seattle.

      “It’s a lot of fun, you’re playing against the best teams. It’s why we play hockey right, we want to be in these big events and showcase our talent, and this tournament is one of the best ways to do that,” the Hurricanes 2021 fifth-round selection said with a smile.

      Roy made a trade to acquire Robidas from the Val-d’Or Foreurs at the QMJHL trade deadline. Robidas welcomed the deal with open arms.

      “I had a lot of fun times in Val-d’Or, but obviously, I wanted the chance to win, and I am pretty happy with the end result. I am fortunate to have ended up in Quebec.”

      Robidas stands 5-foot-8. He is of more diminutive stature but plays a high-octane style of hockey and isn’t afraid of anyone; he’s very effective at the intangibles. Robidas said watching Brayden Point play has allowed him to believe he can become a similar play.

      “In the past few years, I have really liked watching Brayden Point. He’s a bit taller than me,” Robidas said with a smirk. “But he is able to play both sides of the ice; he’s a very intelligent player and someone I like to watch and try to mimic my game after.”

      Like Robidas, Point was also selected in the mid-rounds of the NHL Draft. Point has gone on to become a pivotal player, winning back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Bolts and notching a career-high 51 goals this past season. Robidas hopes to mimic that one day.

      Cam Robinson of EliteProspects provided this scouting report, “Robidas will be an interesting case study to watch. At his size and with his hunched-over skating style, he’s not the type of player you’d pinpoint as likely having a bright NHL future.

      “However, his defensive engagement, his unrelenting motor, and his ability to connect plays and enhance the opportunities for more skilled mates are all above average,” Robinson said. “He’s going to need to beat the odds, but Carolina will provide him with the time, space, and developmental tools to give it a good shot.”

      So, we’ll see where Robidas goes from here. The 2021 fifth-rounder has a deal in his back pocket and can join the team at training camp. From there, we’ll see where his path takes him. But after tasting the NHL life at a young age, there’s only one thing he wants: to carve his own path with the best players in the world.

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