General Manager Jim Neal said Wednesday that there have been steady and ongoing negotiations over the past two weeks with Robertson and his representatives. Neil did not say what prevented the two sides from reaching an agreement, adding that there had been “very good discussions”.
The stars, along with new coach Pete Debor, opened camp Thursday in Cedar Park, Texas, at the home of the AHL team. They have three days of work there before heading back to North Texas for the opening of their gallery at home on Monday night. They open the regular season October 13 in Nashville.
“I think he’s frustrated because he’s not in camp, and we are,” Neal said before the team left for the Austin area. “I think it’s very important for a younger player and, as I mentioned, the (new) coaching staff… We have some time on our side, but we hope he gets here as soon as possible.”
Robertson earned a base salary of $750,000 last season, at the end of a three-year contract worth $2.775 million. He still has five more years before he has the chance to become an unrestricted free agent.
The left winger turned 23 shortly after the end of last season, when he scored 41 goals and made 38 assists for 79 points in 74 games. Robertson has joined Hockey Hall of Famer Mike Modano, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin as the 40 goal scorers since the franchise moved to Dallas in 1993.
In the second round of the All-Star selection in 2017, Robertson had 125 points (58 goals, 67 assists) in 128 NHL games. He had one goal and three assists in his first game after last season, when Dallas lost the first-round series in seven games against Calgary.
DeBoer said he is looking forward to coaching Robertson, but the striker’s absence won’t change his plans in camp.
“It doesn’t affect what I do,” Debor said. “Listen, I woke up at night with excitement training Jason Robertson, over 40 goals, but he’s not here. So, you know, until he gets here, I can’t spend any energy on that.”
Neil said the stars are open to a long-term extension or bridge contract for Robertson, who was part of the team’s streak last season with veterans Joe Pavlesky and Rob Hintz. They combined for 232 points, the second most in franchise history for a trio.
“We are open to anything,” Neil said. “But other than that … I will not negotiate through the media.” “Like I said, we had good conversations. We’ll see where she goes.”