The Dallas Stars pulled off an incredible trade on Friday night that allowed them to select goaltender Jake Oettinger. How big of a steal is this?
What the Dallas Stars did on the evening of Friday, June 23rd – sending the 29th and 70th overall picks to the Chicago Blackhawks for the 26th overall selection – might go down in franchise history as one of the greatest deals of all-time. That’s because general manager Jim Nill managed his Draft picks well enough to land the consensus number-one goaltender in the 2017 Entry Draft field, Boston University netminder Jake Oettinger.
The Stars’ system has long been a deathbed for young goaltenders, due to the lack of developmental assistance given from coaching staffs and front offices. With the hiring of new Texas Stars goaltending coach, longtime Detroit Red Wings employee Jim Bedard, the Stars have committed to growing new crops within the goalie system.
Jake Oettinger, thanks to his high hockey IQ and unmatched fundamental positioning, was the preeminent goalie available on Friday. The Dallas Stars nabbed the NCAA standout and bolstered their already heavy goaltending lineup after grabbing another player fit to repair a void in the system, Miro Heiskanen on defense.
To sum up the game Oettinger puts forth on a daily basis in Boston, Oettinger was good for a 21-11-3 record, .927 save percentage, and 2.11 goals against average. He was at times the best player on the ice in the stacked Hockey East conference, which means there should be no concerns as far as Oettinger’s competition level goes.
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Oettinger projects to be a future Braden Holtby, which is a stylistic comparison and not one based on talent, but Oettinger is quite the star himself. Oettinger, much like the former Vezina winner in Holtby, gets into position quickly and uses all of his 6’4″ frame to deter a shooter’s ability to find a hole.
That kind of efficiency with getting into the right position allows Oettinger to calmly make a save with the correct piece of equipment, which in turn prevents pesky, net-front rebounds. The Dallas Stars have been plagued by awful, bang-bang rebounds from Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi recently, so this should be good news to any Dallas Stars supporter.
Oettinger is quick on his feet and swims through the crease well, which is far better than selling out for pucks and having to recollect yourself like a classic, reflexive goalie. Oettinger’s size covers up any hole the shooters can exploit and his smarts allow him to cheat on certain areas to gain an advantage.
Oettinger will remain the starter of Boston University’s illustrious program for the upcoming years. A goaltender’s development is often time centered mostly around playing time and learning from mistakes in the game time you see; Oettinger will have no issue getting enough time to evaluate his methods.
FUN FACTS ON JAKE OETTINGER:
- Jake Oettinger grew up in Lakeville, Minnesota, right off of the U.S. Highway System’s Interstate 35; I-35 also goes through Dallas, Texas, where he’ll play next.
- Oettinger is the first college-based goaltender to be taken first in his Draft class since Al Montoya was taken sixth overall in 2004 by the New York Rangers.
- Oettinger went one spot after the Montreal Canadiens took forward Ryan Poehling, a fellow Lakeville native.
- Oettinger was groomed by the U.S. National Development Team for two years, alongside fellow superstar prospects like Clayton Keller and Keiffer Bellows.
- Jake Oettinger is the highest Minnesota-born goaltender ever selected in the NHL Draft (26th).
What’s best about Jake Oettinger’s development is the preexisting goalie prospects in the Dallas system. Landon Bow and Philippe Desrosiers are signed to NHL contracts for the 2017-18 year, and when Oettinger joins that fray, the three netminders will wrestle things out for playing time, therefore playing 100% at all times. Competition breeds success, and in this tight of a system, that may be the best way to find a future goalie.
The timing of Jake Oettinger being drafted by the Dallas Stars is nearly flawless; with Ben Bishop being signed for the next six seasons and basically locked in as the Dallas starting goaltender, Jake Oettinger will develop into a starter under Bishop’s wing, the same way the Ed Belfour/Marty Turco transition worked. As goalies usually take three to five years to become NHL-ready, the Stars could have Oettinger prepared for battle just as the Bishop deal runs out of time.
We projected the Stars’ first-round picks perfectly in our Mock Draft, and thankfully Dallas followed suit with grabbing Jake Oettinger. Goaltending wins championships, they say, and Oettinger gives the Stars the best shot at winning such.