With the season about to kick off in the coming months, teams are finalizing getting the missing pieces to their respective puzzles. One team, in particular, did this the other day. The Boston Bruins brought back stat centres Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci. The joy that soared through Bruins Nation was off the charts. The Dallas Stars and their fans are waiting for that same joy as the team still has not signed its two most prominent RFA players. One is Jason Robertson, and the other is the starting goalie. Jake Oettinger needs a new contract.
After Ben Bishop had to retire due to injury, Oettinger cemented himself as the starting goalie. After spending two years up with the big club, Oettinger is gearing up for a long-term deal and a wise investment that the Stars should make.
Jake Oettinger Needs To Be Signed To New Contract
After being acquired from the Los Angeles Kings in May 2017, Bishop became the clear-cut starter in the Dallas crease. The club was getting a premier netminder that would allow the Stars to compete. Bishop was the starting goalie from 2017-20. He would go on to post respectable numbers having goals against averages of 2.49, 1.98, and 2.50. He played a large part in the team’s playoff run in 2019.
First call-up for Jake Oettinger!
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) March 4, 2020
The time has come, and the torch has been passed down to Oettinger. The young goaltender out of Boston College has played the last two seasons with the big club and has proved he can handle being the number one goaltender. He became full-time with the club in the 2020-21 season. While splitting time with Anton Khudobin, he started in 29 games and posted a .911 save percentage and a 2.36 goals against average. He would finish the year with a -4.8 goals saved above expected.
Jake Oettinger Statistics
This was the year for Oettinger. His biggest workload for his young career. He would start in 48 games and post a record of 30-15-1. Oettinger went on to have a goals against average of 2.53 (11th) and a save percentage of .914 (20th). His play in the playoffs was some of his best hockey and why the club was able to force a Game 7 against the Calgary Flames.
Oettinger played in all seven games and finished with a 3-4 record. His absurd 1.81 goals against average ranked first among playoff goalies and his 10.1 goals saved above expected ranked third when the playoffs concluded. He was good in the high danger area only allowing 40 goals and finishing with a .856 save percentage in the area. Over his career, he owns a 2.46 goals against average and a .913 save percentage.
It is safe to say, Jake Oettinger is worth the contract. But what does that look like? Who can his play be compared to that landed a contract this off-season?
The Comparable Players
The best comparables for a new contract involve two goaltenders who signed new deals this off-season. Worth noting that all three are restricted free agents. Those two players are Ville Husso and Vitek Vanecek. Husso signed a three-year contract with a $4.75 million dollar AAV with the Detroit Red Wings, while Vanecek signed a three-year contract worth $3.4 million per season with the New Jersey Devils. Both of these goalies have played the same amount of seasons as Oettinger and both got three-year deals. But what are the statistics that earned them such a contract?
Husso spent the last two seasons with the St. Louis Blues. He became a full-time player with the club during the 2020-21 season. Carrying a small sample size, he started in 17 games and finished with a 9-6 record. His numbers were not the greatest as he posted a 3.21 goals against average and finished with a subpar .893 save percentage.
Things took a turn for the netminder. During the 2021-22 season, his workload doubled. Husso found his game and outplayed starting netminder Jordan Binnington for most of the year. His goals against average was better (2.56) as well as his save percentage (.919). Both of those were better than Binnington and his goals saved above expected of 13.5, ranked ninth overall.
It is a small sample size, but general manager Steve Yzerman saw he was worthy of a new deal.
Vanecek is the next goalie that’s the same way. Spending the last two seasons with the Washington Capitals, he shared time in net with now Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Ilya Samsonov. Vanecek received the majority of the starts in the 2020-21 season. He went on to finish with a .908 save percentage and a 2.69 goals against average. While splitting the net more consistently, Vanecek posted the same save percentage and his goals against average went up to 2.67.
Despite not finishing with a positive goad saved above expected, he has shown consistency and has above-average goaltending play. His save percentage is above the league average of .903. The Devils needed an upgrade in net and this was deemed to be the guy.
A small sample size, but a lot of games played. In the end, he got his contract and is locked in for the next three years.
The Case For Jake Oettinger
Jake Oettinger needs a new contract. And as the statistics show, Oettinger is right up there with those two. He is better than Vanecek and should command a bit more than him. His numbers are similar to Husso’s. Even career-wise, those two post similar numbers. Oettinger has a better GAA (2.46) than Husso’s (2.74), but the save percentages are a tie. Both have the same story of starting small and coming up large the next season.
Oettinger is the younger of the two. The Dallas Stars according to Cap Friendly, have $10.3 million dollars in cap space. With also having Robertson to sign, it can get tricky, but it is still doable. According To Evolving Wild’s contract projections for Oettinger are around $5 million per season. Based on the numbers he has displayed in comparison to his colleagues, this is a very justifiable number.
Why Jim Nill Should Sign Oettinger
Jim Nill should not be sitting on his hands on this one. Goaltenders are not easy to find, especially young and talented ones. Not only is Oettinger the goaltender of the present, but he is the goaltender of the future. The core of this team is built around young talent that includes Roope Hintz, Jason Robertson, Miro Heiskanen, and Oettinger. Jamie Benn has his contract ending and Joe Pavelski cannot play forever. A youth movement is coming and it starts with the guys mentioned above. The money is there to make this work and with the season coming up, putting pen to paper is a must.
Projected Contract: 3 years $4.85 AAV