Oettinger is primed to be the Stars’ No. 1 goaltender.

Oettinger is primed to be the Stars’ No. 1 goaltender.

The goaltender signed a three-year, $12 million contract ($4 million average) with the Dallas Stars on September 1st entering the season. It’s quite a jump for the 23-year-old, who started fourth on the Stars’ goaltending depth chart last season and started out playing in the American Hockey League, but ended up as an NHL starter.

“It’s a new situation for me,” Oettinger said earlier this month at the NHL’s North American player media tour in Henderson, Nevada. “I’ve never come into an NHL season expecting to be the No. 1 guy and it’s going to be exciting for me to take on more responsibility.”

When Ben Bishop And Braden Holtby Injured and Anton Khudobin Struggled last season, Oetting got his chance and made an impact, going 30-15-1 with a 2.53 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and one shutout in 48 regular season games (46 starts).

A 3-2 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames in Game 7 of the first round nearly sent the Stars to the Western Conference second round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He was 3-4 with a 1.81 GAA, .954 save percentage and one shutout in seven postseason appearances.

Video: Oettinger enters number 9 on the countdown.

Expectations are high this season, and the Stars say Otting is ready.

“I think we saw him last year. I mean, he was the guy,” said the Dallas captain. Jamie Benn. he said. “He’s very calm back there. He loves the pressure, he goes about his business. He’s a true professional, he has a great relationship with our goaltending coach, Jeff Reese, and he’s determined to win. I think the sky’s the limit.”

Many of Oetting’s best attributes, including his athleticism, have been on display for some time. Boston Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman He saw them at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship when he was a teammate of the U.S. touring team.

“We were both very young, but technically sound,” said Sweeman, who played with Oettinger when Maine and Oettinger at Boston University.

“I’ve always found him to be a great skater, he’s crazy athletic and I think he’s going to be one of the best goaltenders in the league for a long time. It’s fun to know him personally and play with him. They started playing with him in [NHL] Christmas. Hopefully I can beat him this year.

Calm behavior is also an Oating characteristic. Reese said this was obvious during the regular season, but it was evident during the playoffs.

“I don’t see a lot of goals, especially at that age, that he enjoyed every second and I mean he enjoyed every second of the tournament in the final,” Rees said. “He had a smile on his face and he loved it. He absolutely loved it.”

“He doesn’t go too high, he doesn’t go too low. He has good character for a No. 1 goalie. Physically, he can play a lot of games. He showed that last year.”

Video: Top 10 Jake Oettinger He will save from the 2021-22 season

To handle the physical load, Oetting worked with movement coach Grace Witthun for the second straight season. A lot of their focus is on the mobility of the acting hip, she said, “the groin area, because that’s a common problem for goalies, hip abduction, internal rotation.”

“In my world, we’re going to get deep tissue, open up a lot of space, and we’re going to focus on the spinal cord,” Witchun said. “So the hips can be facing one way, but it can reach and bend the other way without any damage. It’s more consistent, more hours.

“From the day he started with me, I wanted other athletes, especially young athletes, to understand that it’s important to have a body that’s good for your sport, not just for your sport. He’s got a good understanding. The work he’s put in has paid off. It’s been a long time since his time with the NHL. I’m very impressed. He is young and has such a great attitude.

Oettinger is focused on improving his puck handling, something he and Oettinger work on every day, Reese said.

He has to mentally fight any problem that comes his way. A former NHL goaltender at that Marty Turco He had advice for Oettinger.

“Just believe in yourself, you know? That’s the biggest thing. Stay with the flow, or whatever the words of the day are,” said Turco, who leads the Stars/Minnesota North Stars in goals in games (509), wins (262) and shutouts (40).

“It’s hard to find work to turn off your mind when it’s the most controlled behavior of our mind. It’s literally who we are. You have to turn it off to do your work, then turn it on and say, ‘OK. How can I fix this?’ And then, again, if he believes in himself and grows and allows the room to grow, which sometimes backfires, he will be in a very good place.”

Oettinger approached it with a passion that matched his competitiveness from last season. It’s a combination he wants to bring this season as well.

“I’ve definitely been through a lot in the last year,” he said. “It’s a tough position and you always have to do things to make sure you’re on top of your game, or there’s going to be another kid like me trying to take my job right now. I couldn’t be happier. To be the No. 1 goaltender in the NHL this year. Helping this team get back to the playoffs.” It’s my job.

NHL.com staff writer Amalie Benjamin and independent reporter Taylor Baird contributed to this story.


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