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DEV CAMP: Starrett developed new regimen in first pro season

"It's a lot different from the college level. Now, it's your full-time job," said netminder Shane Starrett

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Blue goalposts weren't the only thing Shane Starrett needed to adjust to when he assumed split duties with the ECHL's Wichita Thunder last season.

The netminder was also getting acquainted with the pro game. Mainly, how players operate at the professional level and what they do to maintain their developmental incline.

"At first, it was a huge learning experience being out there," Starrett, who's attending his second Oilers Development Camp, said. "It's a lot different from the college level. Now, it's your full-time job."

The keeper signed with the Oilers from the NCAA's Air Force Falcons of the Atlantic Hockey Association in April of 2017 and quickly made a name for himself with Wichita in 2017-18. The Thunder jumped out to an 11-2-1 record, with Starrett going 6-1-1 alongside a .932 save percentage.

In the process, the 23-year-old earned a 2018 ECHL All-Star nod, backstopping the Mountain Division All-Stars to victory. He finished the season with a 3.01 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and one shutout in 38 games, capping the regular season with a 17-14-3 record. 

A year prior, Starrett's spare time was spent hitting the books. But over the course of the campaign, he dedicated the open pro schedule to sharpening his craft.

"This season, I had more time to spend focusing on the hockey side of things," he said. "A lot of it was a learning curve from just showing up on time, going out after hours and doing things you wouldn't normally be doing in college because you don't have much time for it."

Like any change, it took time for Starrett to adjust. He expedited the process by observing his teammates and how they would function.

"When I first got there, I was following the flow of things. Just seeing how kids operate at the professional level," he said. "After the first month or two, I settled in and learned how to do my own thing and better myself on and off the ice."

The 6-foot-5 keeper devoted the extra time to work on the technical aspects of his game. He also felt the need to put on weight and gain strength. 

"A lot of people don't understand goaltending and the fine details you need to fine-tune every now and then," the Bellingham, MA, product said of his on-ice training. "After practices and stuff, even if we didn't have workouts, I'd be in the gym working out trying to put more weight and strength on."

When he steps on the scale, Starrett comes in at right around 188-pounds. Before Oilers Training Camp rolls around, he hopes to see the needle flick forward more.

"I've been working with my strength coach back home on that," he said.

Starrett made his American Hockey League debut in 2017-18, guarding the crease three times for the Bakersfield Condors. He secured his first AHL win against the Tucson Roadrunners on February 19, 2018, stopping 23 of 25 shots to give the Condors a 3-2 edge.

"Seeing the difference between the ECHL and the AHL level and the step up you have to make from jumping that one division, and how much more you have to work to earn a spot at that level, was another learning experience that I needed," Starrett said.

The goaltender remains modest when asked where he sees himself playing next year. He indicated Bakersfield as a possibility but knows it all depends on performance.

"I know nothing's going to be given to me just because I'm older than (Stuart) Skinner, (Dylan) Wells and (Olivier) Rodrigue," Starrett continued. "You'll see us smiling out there but at the end of the day, I have to earn my spot in the lineup and in this organization."

And Starrett will do so armed with a year of professional experience under his belt.

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