Nation Network 2017 Prospect Profile: #53 Jake Oettinger
Our first (Spoiler: and only) goalie to get a solo profile is Boston University’s Jake Oettinger, who checks in as the 53rd ranked prospect in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
The lower ranking isn’t indicative of his talent level, as Oettinger had an extremely positive draft season in freshmen season with the Terriers. It’s more the fact that goalies are voodoo and can be hard to project. In year’s past, Oettinger likely would’ve been a first round talent but teams have been hesitant to invest such a valued in a goaltender.
We saw a slew of goalies selected in the second round last year, and that probably happens this year in the second half of the second round and into the third round. Oettinger will be part of that run and will likely be one of the first ones selected.
- Age: 18-years-old, 1998-12-18
- Birthplace: Lakeville, MN, USA
- Position: G
- Handedness: L
- Height: 6’4″
- Weight: 205 lbs
- Draft Year Team: Boston University – NCAA
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|NHL (CSS)||ISS||Future Considerations||HockeyProspect||McKenzie||McKeen’s||Pronman||Button|
|1 (N.A. goalies)||2 (goalies)||28||28||N/A||N/A||1 (Goalie)||50|
Oettinger was the youngest goalie, and second-youngest player overall in college hockey this past year, and played fantastic as the starting goalie for Boston University this year, putting up excellent .927/2.11 numbers.
Oettinger is the prototypical combination of size, positioning and athleticism that NHL teams are looking for in a starting goalie, and should be selected very high in this year’s NHL Draft. It’s rare to see goalies be selected in the first round of the Draft these days, but Oettinger’s measurables, combined with him showing he can play at the college level make him as safe a bet as a team could make in a future goalie.
Jake Oettinger is a goaltender with an excellent mixture of size and skill, which has him slated as the potential number one goaltender taken off the board at the 2017 NHL entry draft. At 6-foot-4, he has the frame that scouts crave – but it’s how he utilizes it that makes him so promising. Oettinger plays a modern conservative style, staying deep in the crease, and relying heavily on his puck-tracking ability and hand placement to cut pucks off. This works well for him, because his skating ability isn’t at the top of this year’s draft class.
Playing deeper allows his routes around the crease to be short and simple. He is also very patient on his edges, which makes up for a lot of his deficiencies. If he does drop into the butterfly, he still manages to stay mobile due to superb edgework. His transitions on/off the posts are also very crisp. When Oettinger is at the top of his game, he is calm and simplified. You don’t see him sprawled out in desperation often, which is an excellent trait – especially for a goaltender of his age. His type of controlled athleticism is usually something that takes longer to develop. The worst area of his game is most certainly his puckhandling ability.
If you’re looking for a goaltender that will continually catch the other team on a line change with long bomb passes – Oettinger is not your man. All things considered, Oettinger is one of the most exciting goaltending prospects in recent years. What he has accomplished at his age with Boston University and Team USA is nothing short of astounding. If a team is struggling in the goaltending department and wants an immediate boost, they should highly consider drafting Oettinger.
The scouting reports above give a good outlook into the young net minders game, so we can take a look at how he trended over the year.
The Terriers were stacked this year and Oettinger was a big part of that. He was incredibly consistent throughout the entire year which was reflective in his save %:
The peak and valley to start the season is common – but between game #8 and #36, there was only a variability of .10%, which was right away and then stays within that range for the remainder of the season. There is a dip in the latter parts of the season, and that is also reflected in the GAA:
The 5 goal game was against Harvard, the two four goals against games were New Hampshire and the three goal against games were: Notre Dame, Boston College, North Dakota and Minnesota Duluth. That North Dakota game was a B.U. double overtime win where Oettinger made 56 saves.
The final USCHO NCAA rankings on April 10th had Minnesota Duluth at 2nd, Harvard at 3rd, Notre Dame at 5, N.D. at 9th and Boston College at 16th. So needless to say that Boston University was facing some stiffer competition and thus resulted in some higher scoring rates.
The only other goalie to follow the path of Oettinger is Canucks prospect Thatcher Demko. Both players due to their December birthdays were able to play in the NCAA during their draft eligible season and thus were drafted directly out of the H-East as 18 year olds. Stephon Williams with the New York Islanders was also drafted out of the NCAA, but he was completing his 20 year old season.
Figured it would be interesting to compare Demko and Oettinger to see how they stacked up to each other. One important note to remember is that Demko had been battling hip issues that eventually needed surgery (which he had following the 2014-15 season), so his numbers may not be a fully accurate representation:
As we can see – Oettinger had better numbers almost across the board. Facing more shots per game and almost 50% more minutes. Demko was battling with Brian Billett for the net, while Oettinger was the guy for B.U. this year.
Demko returned for his sophomore season and posted 0.925 SV% and 2.19 GAA. The surgery followed that year, and then he posted 0.935 SV% and 1.88 GAA during the the 2015-16 season before turning pro this past year. So, Oettinger’s numbers still look good compared to those and could follow the same trend upwards.
The average SV% for Hockey East goaltenders is between 0.918-0.920 %, and Oettinger was well above that for his freshman year.
The Lakeville native represented the United States at the U18 tournaments in 2014-15 and 2015-16. He did not play in any games in 14-15, but was fantastic during the 15-16 tournament posting a 1.50 GAA and 0.934 SV%. Both of those stats trailing his teammate Joseph Woll (1.34 GAA; .945 SV%)
The conclusion that I can come to is – looking at his numbers and his play, Oettinger is a first round talent and could possibly be selected in the last few picks of the first round. But given that goalies are so hard to predict and have so much variability, teams may hope that he slides far enough for him to fall to their second pick. I’ve talked about this in the past, there is quite a few teams with multiple second round picks – so that may adjust their strategy a bit. You should always take best player available, but sometimes teams do draft based on need. So that may factor into where Oettinger is ultimately selected.
I had the netminder ranked just outside of the first round (33rd overall), but due to the consensus he fell to 53rd overall in the Nation Network rankings.
Oettinger is arguably the best goalie in this year’s class and should continue to trend towards a professional career. Whether he can carve out a starting job in the NHL will remain to be seen, but he looks to have all the tools to get there.