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Point, Oettinger give Stars bright future at goaltender

Prospects plot own paths to reach NHL

by Jeff Miller / Correspondent

FRISCO, Texas -- Colton Point and Jake Oettinger give the Dallas Stars hope for a bright future at goaltender.

On July 1 Point, selected by Dallas in the fifth round (No. 128) of the 2016 NHL Draft, signed a three-year, entry-level contract rather than return to Colgate University for his junior season. Oettinger, selected by the Stars in the first round (No. 26) in the 2017 NHL Draft, will return to Boston University for his junior season.

"The system is really open right now," Point said during Stars development camp last month. "It gives me a pretty decent chance."

Point, 20, was a top-10 finalist for the 2017-18 Hobey Baker Award, given to the top NCAA men's hockey player, and a finalist for the Mike Richter Award, given to the top NCAA men's goaltender. He was 16-12-5 with a 1.74 goals-against average and a .944 save percentage that led the NCAA and equaled the ninth-best ever. Point, from North Bay, Ontario, also played in one game for Canada in its gold medal win at 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship.

Oettinger, who also was at Stars development camp last month, was 21-13-4 with a 2.45 GAA, a .915 save percentage last season at BU and was named most valuable player of the Hockey East tournament. He was 0-1-0 in three games for the United States in its run to the bronze medal at the World Juniors.

"Everyone has a different path," Oettinger, 19, said of the decision on when to turn pro. "I think it's just realizing what your path is and what you have to do to get there. I think I have a pretty good foundation set and a good plan going forward."

Point and Oettinger each are listed at 6-4, with Point at 220 pounds and Oettinger at 218.

Point was Colgate's Student-Athlete of the Year for 2017-18.

"My mom has forever been, 'You'd better stay at school,' and all that," Point said. But when a Stars front-office contingent that included general manager Jim Nill recently traveled to Ontario to meet with Point and his family, his mother said he should sign.

"I think most guys, if they're an NHL prospect, after two, three years, they're going to want to come out," Nill said.

The two prospects should have time to develop: Starting goaltender Ben Bishop, 31, heads into the second year of a six-year, $29.5 million contract and will be backed up by Anton Khudobin, who signed a two-year, $5 million contract with Dallas on July 1 after leaving the Boston Bruins as an unrestricted free agent.

This season, Point probably will compete with Landon Bow, 22, who played 46 games for Texas of the American Hockey League in 2017-18, to start for Texas or play for Idaho in the ECHL.

Point said his priority is learning how to live the pro lifestyle.

"Getting used to just having hockey in your life," he said. "Making sure I'm the best athlete I can be."

Oettinger will have similar focuses though he'll return to campus.

"Just getting myself ready to be a pro," he said. "That's in all aspects of my life, whether it's on the ice, off the ice."

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