When Scott Wedgewood was dealt to the Stars on March 20, 2022, he was eager to learn more about his new goaltending partner.

He had some teammates who told him about Jake Oettinger, a budding talent in his second season in the league.

“I said to him, ‘Listen, I don’t want your job. “I want my own job at this point,” Wedgewood stated.

As a result, the two Stars goaltenders formed a symbiotic relationship.

Over the next two seasons, Wedgewood learned how Oettinger operates and how, despite his age, he has the attitude and mentality of a senior goaltender.

“It’s been easy,” Wedgewood added. “He’s quite humble. I don’t believe he promotes himself as being as good as everyone else thinks he is. I believe that’s a good quality.”

Oettinger, now four years into his NHL career, was named the Stars’ representative to the 2024 NHL All-Star Game on Saturday afternoon in Toronto. The decision comes at a critical time for the goaltender, who has encountered more adversity than ever before, both in terms of injury and performance.

“He’s an excellent goaltender because of his demeanour. “He’s neither too high nor too low,” observed Stars head coach Pete DeBoer. “The similarities I see between Jake and a couple of the great goalies I’ve coached in my career, like Martin Brodeur and [Marc-André Fleury], are their quiet competitiveness and ability to raise their game at critical times.

“He oozes leadership, and that’s not a position that you expect a lot of leadership from.”

When Oettinger learned he was going to the All-Star Game, he was unsure about his situation in Dallas.

Stars forward Ty Dellandrea said he and Oettinger spent five days training together, along with goaltender coach Jeff Reese, to help Oettinger recover from a mid-December groyne injury that sidelined him for weeks.

Dellandrea and Oettinger had been close friends for years, having been selected a year apart, playing together in Cedar Park, and lived in the same apartment block in Dallas. Dellandrea even scored his first NHL goal on the same night that Oettinger earned his first win.

In terms of goals-against average, he is 36th among the 59 NHL goalies who have played 15 or more games this season, while his save percentage is 35th.

“I’m sure he’s not as satisfied as he wanted to be with his numbers, but just as a whole and how he works and shows up and what he’s done for this team over a course of a number of years, he deserves every part of it,” Dellandrea went on to say. “I think it’s great for him and his confidence.”

“It’s all building blocks for the Stanley Cup,” he said. “Every goalie is going to go through it. Every player is going to go through it. To get to where he wants to get to, he’s going to have to fight through these.”

Working through Oettinger’s injuries and struggles on the ice this season gave Reese a closer look into what he and many in the Stars organization believe makes the 25-year-old goalie special.

Dallas Stars NHL Hockey News | Fort Worth Star-Telegram

DeBoer spoke about it consistently during Dallas’ playoff run last year. Oettinger has showed an ability to bounce back better than most at the position, whether that means after a loss, a difficult stretch or even an injury.

“He’s done it his whole life,” Reese said. “That’s something you cannot teach. That’s something you have inside you. And he’s got it.”

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