Similar to the Dallas Stars, the Texas Stars had an awful start to the hockey season that they’re just now starting to climb back from. It served as a sort of wake-up call for rookie goaltender Jake Oettinger, who’s used to playing well as a starting goaltender, not struggling somewhat as a backup:
The pro game is a big adjustment and expectations are much higher. Oettinger said he enjoys those expectations, but they required an adjustment.
“At BU I would make a save on five good or great chances in a game and it would be like, that’s a great game,” Oettinger said. “Here you make those five saves and it’s like, well that’s what you’re supposed to do.”
Like the rest of the Stars, Oettinger seems to have finally found his game, and looks more comfortable in net than before. His numbers might not be pretty, but it’s worth admitting that the transition to the AHL for a goaltender isn’t an easy one:
Philadelphia Flyers 21-year-old goalie Carter Hart is a good case study. Last season, Hart struggled with the transition to the AHL after dominating the WHL. But after getting a handle on things, he made a rather seamless transition to the NHL in Philadelphia behind a middling team.
This isn’t to say Oettinger will be in the NHL this season or next, but it’s an important point of reference that getting too wrapped up in the prospect’s save percentage or goals against average can be faulty.
You can read about Oettinger and a lot more from Sean Shapiro in his latest Shap Shots: [The Athletic]
Dallas lost last night against the Edmonton Oilers, in case you wanted to be reminded. Here’s what Rick Bowness had to say about the loss:
Here’s Jason Dickinson, whose face managed to survive the penalty-riddled game:
And finally here’s Andrej Sekera:
Sekera on the rhythm of tonight's game:— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) December 17, 2019
"It was an up and down game with the special teams. A lot of guys don't get played, it's not fluid, there's no rhythm to the game, but we tried to manage it as well as possible."#EDMvsDAL | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/y5H3UzcjnD
Was a quiet night in the NHL, but not so much for the Central:
- The Nashville Predators seemed to rebound nicely from their loss against Dallas, thrashing the New York Rangers 5-2 last night: [On the Forecheck]
- Different game, same score: the St. Louis Blues held onto 1st place in the Central with a 5-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche: [Mile High Hockey]
I always liked Eric Staal, so I endorse this message:
He scored his 1,000th point and is one of the highest scoring players in the post-lockout era. But with a career spent largely out of the spotlight, is Eric Staal one of the most underrated players of his generation?@THNJaredClinton with more:https://t.co/bikJQLQcpH— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) December 17, 2019
These statements from Marc Crawford and the Chicago Blackhawks are a pleasant surprise, and well worth your time reading:
The Blackhawks and Marc Crawford release statements: https://t.co/oN5Cv7PfTd— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) December 16, 2019
#NJDevils NEWS: Taylor Hall and Blake Speers to ARI in exchange for a first-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, third-round selection (conditional) in 2021, D Kevin Bahl and F Nick Merkley and Nate Schnarr.https://t.co/PPZFky75oV— New Jersey Devils (@NJDevils) December 16, 2019
Lots of conditions on those picks:
There's a hard 1st-round pick in the Hall trade PLUS another conditional 1st-round pick IF the Coyotes re-sign Hall AND win a playoff round. The conditional pick becomes a third-round pick if neither of those things happen. And a 2nd-round pick if one of those 2 things happen— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) December 16, 2019
The condition on the 2020 1st round pick to #NJDevils is lottery protected. If #Coyotes miss the playoffs and that pick ends up in the top three spots, it slides to 2021.— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) December 16, 2019
(ARI did acquire Taylor Hall, so make lottery jokes at your own risk.)
You probably don’t recognize any of the prospect names, but Corey Pronman has got you covered:
Offer sheet a goalie, cowards!
The Penguins' crease situation is becoming more complicated than most expected, but Pittsburgh isn't the only team that has to make a decision about RFA netminders.@StevenEllisTHN with more:https://t.co/YIrIMUksAA— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) December 16, 2019
Believe it or not, the Calgary Flames are good again, and interim head coach Geoff Ward is a big reason why:
First it was music during practice, now it's soccer-handball.— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) December 16, 2019
The environment Geoff Ward has created has helped turn the once-fragile @NHLFlames into a group with plenty of swagger – and a winning record to go with it. (via @EricFrancis)https://t.co/VLOYeeKtZc
Finally, Ilya Kovalchuk was placed on waivers yesterday for the purpose of contract termination. Should the Stars consider picking up the veteran at the league minimum for some power play help?