Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals had plenty of storylines. The return of Stamkos and what he would look like after all this time. Who would take control of the series with a 2-1 lead? Even from a Boston fan perspective with Khudobin and Seguin playing on the Stars we have those stories. Perhaps the most unexpected was the story of Jake Oettinger. The former 2017 first-round pick might be a familiar name to some of you. The reason being he played his college hockey at Boston University. Here us a look at his journey as the title put it from a pot of beans to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Jake was born on December 18th, 1998 in Lakeville Minnesota. He came up playing through the US National Team Development Program. Starting back in the 2014-15 season with the USNTDP Juniors U-17 team of the USHL. Jake Oettinger played in 20 games that season finishing with a 3.23 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. His numbers vastly improved playing for the US National U-17 team where in 29 games he had a 2.57 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage. In the World, Under 17 Hockey Challenge, Oettinger played in three games with a 1.34 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage which was second-best in the tournament.
The following season 2016-16 Jake was back with the USNTDP Juniors in the USHL. He played in 15 games with a 2.24 goals-against average and a .919 save percentage. Oettinger also played 37 games for the U-18 National team with a 2.38 goals-against average and a .908 save percentage. Jake Oettinger would once again shine on the international stage this time at the U-18 World Junior Championship. Jake played four games in the tournament finishing with a 1.50 goals-against average and a .934 save percentage again the second-best in the tournament. After some impressive international performances, Oettinger committed to play his college hockey at Boston University.
The 2016-17 season was Jake’s freshman year at BU. That season he played in 35 games finishing with a 21-11-3 record to go with a 2.11 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage. During the season BU would lose in the Beanpot Final to Harvard. Oettinger tried his best to steal this one stopping 40 of 45 shots but his team was only able to fire 17 the other way. In the Hockey East Tournament, Jake Oettinger and BU lost to BC in the semifinal 3-2. Finally in the NCAA West Regional after beating #10 North Dakota BU fell to #3 Minnesota Duluth 3-2 in overtime. After an impressive Freshman season, Jake was selected in the first round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft 26th overall by the Dallas Stars.
The 2017-18 season saw Jake Oettinger play 38 games for BU. He would finish the year going 21-13-4 with a 2.45 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage. In the first round of the 2018 Beanpot Jake would get their revenge on Havard stopping 47 of 49 shots in a 3-2 double-overtime win. Unfortunately, BU would once again lose in the final this time 5-2 to Northeastern. In the Hockey East Tournament BU would defeat Providence in the finals 2-0 with a 30 save shutout for Jake Oettinger. Finally in the NCAA Northeast Regional Jake and BU would beat #4 Cornell only to lose in the second round to #10 Michigan.
The 2018-19 season would be Jake Oettinger’s last at BU. Jake played in 36 games going 16-16-4 with a 2.45 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage. The 2019 Beanpot saw a struggling BU team lose to Northeastern in the first round 2-1 in overtime. Jake once again tried his best to steal a win stopping 47 of 49 shots but it wasn't enough. In the third-place game, BU would lose 5-2 to Harvard giving the school only it's 7th ever 4th place finish in the tournament. In the Hockey East Tournament, BU would lose in the second round to Northeastern 2-1 in overtime once again. The game featured yet another impressive performance by Jake Oettinger as he stopped 42 of 44 shots. That would be the final game of Jake’s BU career as the team failed to make the NCAA Tournament.
Jake Oettinger’s pro career got off to a slightly early start with BU missing the NCAA Tournament. During the 2018-19 season, Jake would play in six AHL games with a 2.47 goals-against average and a .895 save percentage. Now we have reached the start of this year the 2019-20 season. Before the AHL season shutdown, Jake played in 38 games going 15-16-4 with a 2.57 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage. Those are some impressive numbers for a 21-year-old rookie in his first full pro season. So impressive in fact that by the end of the season Jake was the Texas Stars number 1 goalie playing the most games on the season.
This brings us to the return to play training camp where Jake was fighting for a spot on the expanded playoff roster. During an intra-squad game, Jake actually had a 22 save shut out leading his team to a 4-0 win. As Dallas finished their camp and left for Edmonton Jake had claimed his roster spot as the team's third goalie. After an injury to Ben, Bishop Jake has been the Stars backup for some time now in the bubble. He actually made his NHL debut back on September 8th in a 3-0 loss to Vegas. Oettinger enters the game in the third period to give Khudobin some rest and in 17 minutes stopped all five shots he faced. This was all leading up to Game 3 on Wednesday. Once again with his team down Jake came into the game during the third period. It wasn't a very busy 19 minutes of action but Jake was once again not fazed by the moment and stopped all three shots he faced. For the playoffs, Jake actually has an almost 37-minute shutout streak not bad for a 21-year-old rookie.
When Dallas drafted Jake Oettinger 26th overall back in 2017 they saw future starter potential. Jake has excelled at every level he has played so far including his limited NHL time. With Ben Bishop still the team's number one for the next three years and a decent cap situation to replace Khudobin it isn't likely Jake will be shutting down NHL teams next season. However, that doesn't mean he won't be pushing for that backup job very soon. Maybe even as soon as the 2021-22 season. While he might not play for our Bruins it's always nice to see local college players succeeding at the next level. Jake might even be setting up a post hockey career in media already. Here is a link to his blog for NHL.com covering the Stanley Cup Finals. Until next time stay safe out there and LET’S GO BRUINS and LET’S GO JAKE!!
Featured image courtesy of Codie McLachlan/ Special Contributor/The Dallas Morning News.