Jake Oettinger signed a three-year, $12 million contract with the Dallas Stars on Thursday. It has an average annual value of $4 million.
The 23-year-old goalie was a restricted free agent.
“I made it clear to my representatives that I wanted to be in Dallas for a long time,” Oettinger said Friday. “If I could have signed an eight-year deal I would have. But you have to make it work for both sides, and I’m super happy with how the process went. Now I’m just happy to have that behind me and completely focus on hockey. It’s definitely a weight lifted off my shoulders. Now I’m just excited to get back and get to work.”
He was 30-15-1 with a 2.53 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and two shutouts in 48 games (46 starts) for the Stars last season. Oettinger began last season behind Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin on the depth chart before taking over as the No. 1 halfway through.
Although Dallas lost to the Calgary Flames in seven games in the Western Conference First Round, Oettinger led one of the highest-scoring offenses in the NHL with 13 goals, and had a 1.81 GAA, .954 save percentage and one shutout. He made 64 saves in a 3-2 overtime loss in Game 7.
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“Jake’s performance spoke for itself last season,” Stars general manager Jim Nill said. “He has elite physical ability and presence in the net while also exhibiting phenomenal mental strength in high pressure situations. Jake’s poise and character off the ice have made him a leader in our locker room. He has shown that he has the skill, work ethic and poise to excel at the NHL level. He was a key part of the team’s success last season, and we’re excited to see him continue to grow here in Dallas.”
Oettinger said he had a good offseason of training and is ready to shift into a regular-season mindset.
“This summer has gone by pretty quickly,” he said. “I got to take some good time off and enjoy myself, and I’m also really confident in all of the work I’ve put in. I’m starting to ramp up the skating even more right now, and the next few weeks in Dallas it’ll pretty much be like the season has started as far as the training schedule. I’m really confident with where I’m at and I feel like I’ve put in the work this summer to be ready to carry a heavy workload.”
After being the No. 1 goalie for half the season, Oettinger believes that he and the Stars can be even better with him playing a full season atop the depth chart.
“I showed what I’m capable of and the level of play I can get myself to day-in and day-out,” he said. “We all know it takes great goaltending throughout the regular season to get yourselves into the playoffs, and that’s what I plan on doing. If I can consistently give my team a chance to win, I’ve done my job. We have a great group of guys in front of me, and I’m just focused on my job to try to give the team a chance to win every night. As I learned last year, once you get into the playoffs anything can happen. So my focus right now is doing the things I can to prepare my body, my mind, and my game to carry this team throughout the regular season so that we can get another crack at the postseason this year.”
Selected by Dallas in the first round (No. 26) of the 2017 NHL Draft, Oettinger is 41-23-8 with a 2.46 GAA, .913 save percentage and two shutouts in 77 regular-season games (70 starts) and 3- 4 in nine playoff games (seven starts).
The Stars also have to sign a restricted free agent forward Jason Robertsonwho led them with 41 goals and was second with 79 points in 74 games last season.
NHL.com independent correspondent Taylor Baird contributed to this report