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Stars trade up to draft goaltender Jake Oettinger

Stars jump to 26th overall to grab big netminder from Boston University

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars got the top player on their draft list when they selected defenseman Miro Heiskanen with the third overall pick in Friday night's NHL Draft in Chicago, and then they grabbed the top goalie on their list, trading up to the 26th overall pick to grab Jake Oettinger from Boston University.

When the Stars-Blackhawks trade was announced, Oettinger had a sense he was heading to Dallas.

"I thought maybe a little bit that trade was for me," Oettinger said. "It's just so cool to have a team trade up to take you."

The Stars traded the 29th overall pick and the 70th overall pick to Chicago to move up to the 26th spot to take Oettinger. The Stars gave up a pick in a later round to get a player they wanted and were afraid might not be available at the 29th spot.

"I think as the first round went on we sort of got a little more tense. I think just thinking that something might happen," McDonnell said. "We're looking at other teams' depth lists and everything and their goaltending situations. We felt there were a couple of teams that might create problems for us."

The 6-4, 218-pound Oettinger compiled a 21-11-3 record, 2.11 goals-against average and .927 save percentage as a freshman at Boston University. He was spectacular in the NCAA Frozen Four, stopping 56 shots in a 4-3 win over North Dakota.

"He had everything we're looking for in a goaltender," said Joe McDonnell, Stars director of amateur scouting. "He has the size, the athleticism, and the compete level. He had the three checkmarks we were looking at with a goalie, and we got him."

Oettinger models his game after San Jose netminder Martin Jones. He's expected to return to Boston University next season. How long he plays there after that is up in the air.

"Nothing is set in stone, but I can't say enough great things about Boston University and the development I've gotten there," Oettinger said. "I am certainly not in any rush to leave there. It's all going to come down to how well I play and how hard I work. But I am definitely excited about joining the Dallas Stars down the road."

The goal is to be a No.1 goaltender with the Dallas Stars someday, but he still has some work to do at Boston University in terms of development.

"I can probably give you a laundry list of things I want to get better at before I move onto the next level," Oettinger said. "I think one of the things about the goalies in the NHL is how tough they are mentally and I think that comes with a lot of experience. That's something I am going to learn a lot the next couple years at BU."

The 18-year-old Oettinger, who is from Lakeville, Minnesota, had a couple of goals heading into the draft - get selected in the first round and be the first goaltender taken. He met both goals. And, of course, there is just the thrill of being drafted by an NHL team.

"I couldn't be more excited to get to Dallas," Oettinger said. "I am just so humbled to be a part of a great organization. Whenever a team trades up to get you, it means a lot, and it means they really want to take you. I couldn't be more excited."

Oettinger shared the excitement of hearing his name called with his family, including his father, mother, and stepmother.

"It's hard to explain [the feeling]," he said. "Hugging my close family was one of the most special moments of my life. I couldn't be more happy to be here with those guys. They've done so much for me and sacrificed so much for me to get here. To share this experience with them means the world to me."

This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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