Dallas Stars having a very difficult time signing one of their free agents

August 5, 2022  (9:47 PM)

Dallas Stars goalie Jake Oettinger has come a long way, from his first start in 2020 against the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference Finals.

His AHL record really speaks for itself:
Selected by Dallas in the first round (No. 26) of the 2017 NHL Draft, Oettinger was 15-16-4 with a 2.57 GAA, .917 save percentage and three shutouts in 38 games with Texas of the American Hockey League this season.

Oettinger put on a clinic against Jacob Markstrom and the Calgary Flames in the playoffs, an epic 64 saves. Despite the Game 7 loss, he is arguably the new starting goalie for the Stars, as Bishop retired and Khudobin has fallen from grace.
So why hasn't Jim Nill signed him?
The Stars will have to fit Oettinger and Jason Roberston under the current cap situation. Robertson is due for a raise, with his recent Calder nomination last season.
That is one roadblock, along with a lack of sample size compared to other goalies in the league currently. This leaves Carter Hart and Thatcher Demko as the closest comparable contracts, which by price are non-starters for Dallas.
If $3.979 million is the baseline, how high does Oettinger's number go? Midway through the 2020-21 season, Vancouver handed fellow American goaltender Thatcher Demko a five-year, $25 million deal for a $5 million AAV. At the time Demko signed his deal, he was older than Oettinger today (25 to 23), had a smaller sample size (59 starts to 70 starts) and had inferior career statistics (.911 save percentage and 2.92 GAA to .913 save percentage and 2.46 GAA).

It looks like Oettinger's desired $4 to $5 Million AAV, would eat a considerable amount of cap space, which is currently at $11.4 Million.
Oettinger in all his performances has played above the Stars' expectations, outplaying Khudobin, and Holtby and serving as a stand-in during Ben Bishop's injury. It sounds like he wants to stay put, even despite their terrible hire of Peter DeBoer.
Dallas has handled things with caution and skepticism while Oettinger has handled things with confidence. Oettinger's confidence has held up so far, on the ice. Now, the same dynamic is at play at the negotiating table.

Pay the goalie!
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