The net is in trouble. Jake Oettinger is not playing up to his potential as the club rolls toward playoff hockey.

Jake Oettinger was yanked last night after giving up four goals on 10 shots. Oettinger is having an unexpected down year after posting his best numbers last season.

Oettinger broke out on the scene two years ago in an epic playoff series against the Calgary Flames. He appeared in 26 regular-season contests, classifying him as an NHL rookie. The otter followed that season with a 37-win campaign en route to a 2.37 GAA and .919 save percentage. He registered 10 wins before the Stars were eliminated in the Western Conference Final.

Described as a leader in Sept. 2022, the Dallas Stars hoped Oettinger could replicate his spectacular stats every year. 

“He has elite physical ability and presence in the net while also exhibiting phenomenal mental strength in high-pressure situations. Jake’s poise and character off the ice have made him a leader in our locker room. He has shown that he has the skill, work ethic, and poise to excel at the NHL level,” Nill told NBC DFW at the time.

“A phenomenal young goalie. He’s going to be great for this organization for a long time,” Stars’ captain Jamie Benn said.

However, the netminder seems to have taken a step back this year. It’s unclear if that is because of an injury or something else. The defense in front of him is different. 

Last year featured a hard-nosed Colin Miller and healthier, albeit one-year younger Ryan Suter. Esa Lindell, another defensive defenseman, posted a +29 rating, appearing in all 82 games. 

This year features a faster, more up-tempo defense headlined by Thomas Harley’s ascension and Miro Heiskanen’s dynamic offensive abilities. GM Jim Nill acquired Chris Tanev to keep pucks out of Dallas’ net, too. 

It might take a minute for Oettinger to get used to the Stars’ trade deadline splash. 

He needs to corral his game before the puck drops in the playoffs. Otherwise, the Stars could fade quickly. 

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