Dallas Stars Daily Links: Why Haven’t The Stars Re-Signed Oettinger?

If you thought the shattering loss of John Klingberg was the price the Dallas Stars had to pay to keep a couple of talented youngsters, you might well ask what the hell is up with Jake Oettinger’s continuing status as a restricted free agent. Wasn’t the money they weren’t willing to pay Klinger intended, in part, to ensure Otter would be a Star for a very long time?

Well, as it turns out, it’s never that simple. The Athletic‘s Saad Yousuf took a long look at what the team is trying to balance, and available cap space may be the least of it. For one example, like his draft classmate Jason Robertson, Oettinger has very few age-and-performance comparables among his fellow NHL players, with only the Philadelphia Flyers’ Carter Hart and the Vancouver Canucks’ Thatcher Demko in the same room:

Oettinger has 25 fewer regular season starts to his name than Hart did when he signed his deal last summer but he’s essentially the same age and coming off of a much better season and postseason. Hart’s $3,979 million is not the only data point, but given the parallels in age and production, Hart is viewed as a starting point for what Oettinger deserves.

If $3,979 million is the baseline, how high does Oettinger’s number go? Midway through the 2020-21 season, Vancouver handed fellow American goaltender Thatcher Demko a five-year, $25 million deal for a $5 million AAV. At the time Demko signed his deal, he was older than Oettinger today (25 to 23), had a smaller sample size (59 starts to 70 starts) and had inferior career statistics (.911 save percentage and 2.92 GAA to .913 save percentage and 2.46 GAA).

So where do the contract talks go while Otter spends his summer in Minnesota? It depends on how far each side presses their advantage – and whether they’re willing to play chicken with the rest of the league:

While both sides would like to reach a resolution as soon as possible, the stars are in no rush. Training camp begins in a month and a half and the season begins in a little over two months. Those are the primary pressure points at which deadlines could lead to a deal. Until then, there is not much urgency. However, that doesn’t mean the timeline is unimportant. Because of the Stars’ cap situation and Robertson’s looming contract, there is potential for another wrench to be thrown in the mix, and that is the possibility of an offer sheet.

Offer sheets are a rare occurrence in the NHL but so is the supply of talented 23-year-old goaltenders who have shown potential to be franchise cornerstones. If Robertson’s deal gets done first, it would give any interested teams a firm number as to how high they need to go in order to put the Stars in a bind. At that point, the Stars would be forced to offload player(s) in order to create cap space to keep Oettinger.

There’s much more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]


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