In his first full American Hockey League season, goaltender Shane Starrett made significant strides in his personal development while providing an instant impact for his club.
Enough to earn a one-year, two-way contract as the Bellingham, MA, native re-signed with the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.
Starrett was considered a critical piece of the Bakersfield Condors success this season, helping the franchise earn its first AHL playoff berth and the best record in the league's Western Conference.
Video: CONDORS | Shane Starrett 05.15.19
With a 27-7-5 record, a .918 save percentage and 2.33 goals against average, Starrett cemented himself as the team's starting netminder midway through the campaign by "earning his way there," as put by Condors Head Coach Jay Woodcroft.
"I knew I was going to get my one opportunity eventually," Starrett told Bob Stauffer and 630 CHED's Oilers Now on Wednesday. "When I wasn't playing as much, I was working with Sly (Condors Goaltending Coach Sylvain Rodrigue).
"He said, 'We're preparing for you to get your chance. You're going to get a game here, you're going to get a chance to show what you have. We want you to be ready for that chance because that opportunity will lead to more.'
"That's what kind of happened - I had one shot, played well and that led to more opportunities to play and the season I had."
The goaltender was one of two Condors named to the AHL's All-Rookie Team during the 2018-19 campaign - a season which also saw Starrett play in eight playoff games (3-3-0, 2.89 GAA & .889 SV%).
Video: CONDORS | All-Rookie Roomies 05.01.19
Just two seasons removed from playing at the Air Force Academy in college, Starrett says continuous improvement in "the different reads between the pro and college level," and "tightening up the technical side of goaltending" will be necessary heading into the 19-20 season.
"I'm just looking to go to training camp and be the best I can be and be ready for the opportunity," said Starrett. "I don't know what's going to happen over the course of the summer (in regards to the Oilers back-up plans), but I'll be preparing for training camp.
"I'm going to give the best effort that I can."