FRISCO, Texas -- Jake Oettinger knows he will be in a three-way battle for playing time this season, but more than four months after making his professional debut, the 20-year-old Dallas Stars prospect said he's ready to step forward as the No. 1 goalie for Texas of the American Hockey League.
"You're a professional hockey player, so you're going to have to beat out really good goalies no matter where you are," Oettinger said during Stars development camp in June. "I think the competition is healthy and you still have to be a good teammate. But I want to be the guy in the net, and I want to be the guy that gets called up. That's what I'm working towards and I'm looking forward to it."
The No. 26 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft completed his junior year at Boston University last season and was 16-16-4 with a 2.45 goals-against average, a .926 save percentage and four shutouts. He signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Stars on March 25 and joined Texas, where he was 3-3-1 with a 2.47 GAA and .895 save percentage in six games.
"It was great," Oettinger said. "There's a lot of things that are different than college, and to get those three weeks under my belt was huge. Getting to know all of the guys and the trainers will make my adjustment to pro hockey that much easier."
Video: Stars draft G Jake Oettinger No. 26
Oettinger will compete with Landon Bow and Colton Point to be the top goalie for Texas and No. 3 on the Dallas depth chart behind Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin.
"While they are technically competition, we're all on the same team," Oettinger said. "At the end of the day, the only thing I can control is how well I play and not how well they play. For me, it's just focusing on the things I can control. Hopefully if I do all of the right things, I'll be the next man up."
Dallas goalie coach Jeff Reese said he believes Oettinger is ready for the challenge.
"He was very good when we drafted him and he was very good technically," Reese said. "He's made subtle changes here and there and he's got some pro games under his belt now. He knows a little bit of what the pros are all about and I think getting some pro games was the best thing for him last year.
"He wants to be good and wants to be the best. He's got the drive and he's very mature for his age. There's a lot of things to like about Jake."