A few weeks back, I talked about how the Dallas Stars needed to establish who their number one goalie was going to be going forward. Whether it was Braden Holtby or Jake Oettinger was up to them. I was more concerned about the constant switching in and out from the Stars.
Fast forward to today and it would appear that Dallas has their man. The Dallas Stars have turned their attention to the youngster: Oettinger. The 23 year old has shown that he’s ready to take the lead as the number one guy and I think the Stars are ready for it to happen too.
Is Jake Oettinger the right choice for the Dallas Stars
There will always be those that question every move that is made by their favorite team. Hindsight is always 20-20. You can look back and declare “I would have done this or that” and you will always look right because you know the outcome.
Obviously, the coach and GM of any franchise have it a little tougher. They don’t have the luxury of knowing what’s going to happen. They’re playing with numbers and analytics. So we can debate this move until we’re blue in the face or until Oettinger proves the Dallas Stars right. Or wrong.
There’s a case that could be made for going with Holtby instead. He did lead a team to the Stanley Cup after all. And not very long ago I might add. He’s a veteran with tremendous leadership skills as well. So, why not stick with him?
First, let me say that I do not have the answer. I am only speculating here. That being said, I believe this was the plan all along. Two years ago Dallas went to the Stanley Cup Final in the bubble up in Edmonton. Anton Khudobin had a phenomenal playoff run. If you remember he was the backup to Ben Bishop. Of course Bishop got hurt and the rest is history.
Oettinger had to come up and play backup to Khudobin during that playoff run. He was only 21 and didn’t have the NHL experience yet. Last season, same thing. Khudobin and Oettinger split time and Oettinger played really good.
Coming into the season, though, I don’t know if the Dallas Stars organization knew for sure he was ready to take the lead as the number one goalie. Obviously they want him to. Any time you invest into a youngster that has the potential, you want them to succeed. But you also don’t want to rush him. They had no idea what was going to happen with Bishop so they brought in Holtby.
As it would turn out, Oettinger did step up and took over the number two spot earlier in the season. You could tell Dallas was still leaning on Holtby. That all changed recently and Dallas has put their eggs in the Jake Oettinger basket. We shall see if it pans out or not. Right now, it looks like the perfect move. Right now, he’s playing at a tremendously high level.
Perhaps the defining moment came on February 18th when Dallas beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 in a shootout. Oettinger dazzled the crowd with 34 saves. Or maybe it was the game before that when he stopped 46 of 47 shots that Colorado threw at him.
The point is this is his team and we all need to get on board.
This kid could be here for a while.