Stars Training Camp Day 2 Notebook: Heiskanen is Very Good, Khudobin & Oettinger Update
Day two of Dallas Stars training camp reminded us just how good Miro Heiskanen is and gave us a closer look at the goaltender battle.
Day two of Stars training camp was a bit more structured and featured some board battles, defensive zone coverage, and a lot more transition hockey. Here are the notables from the three sessions on Friday.
Heiskanen is Very Good at Hockey
We all know that, right? But we get caught up in the points and the flash that we saw from him in 2020 and forget all of the other things that he brings to this Stars team. Today, those other factors were on display. In just about every drill, Miro showed off his excellent stick skills, quick decision-making, elite vision, and the gap control and skating that make him one of the best defensemen in the NHL.
While the hope is that Heiskanen will produce more this season and going forward, especially with the absence of John Klingberg, these ‘little’ things, as we call them, are going to be what makes him the most valuable to his team. We are going to dive deep into all of that on a column soon, so stay tuned.
Anton Khudobin Has Faced It All, But is Happy to Be Back Around the Team
Life has been tough for goaltender Anton Khudobin. After his heroic run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020, he has faced a hand injury, an extreme case of COVID-19, being bounced between the NHL and AHL, hip surgery, and now another case of COVID to wrap it all up. Still, despite all of the adversity and craziness, he is excited to be back around his teammates and playing near full speed.
“Oh it’s awesome, awesome,” he said. “When I was skating by myself without getting any shots, it was boring, but when I was able to skate with the guys and get shots, it was an awesome feeling.”
As far as expectations go, the future is unknown for Khudobin. He is facing heavy competition with Jake Oettinger and Scott Wedgewood likely sitting in front of him and a heavy $3.3 million contract that makes it difficult to find him a new home. However, we can’t forget about the goaltender that he was for a long time. If he clearly outplays Wedgewood at camp and in the preseason, he will have a good chance at revitalizing his NHL career.
“I am not thinking about that, to be honest,” he said. “I am thinking: recover as fast as possible, be in shape, and help the guys to win games.”
Jake Oettinger is Looking for a Fast Start to His First Full NHL Season
23-year-old Jake Oettinger is fresh off of signing a three-year, $12 million contract with Dallas this summer. He is slated to be the number-one goaltender for the team both this season and for the long future. But for Jake, it is business as usual.
“It feels good knowing that I am going to be here for a few years. Obviously, I want to stay here for a long time, so it is a good start in that direction. Now it is up to me to play up to that and earn it. I couldn’t be more excited.”
Something that Oettinger, and the Stars as a team, will be looking to do is start faster than they have in previous years. In 2021-22, they got off to a slow start and were chasing a playoff spot throughout, not clinching a wild card until nearly the final day of the regular season. As expectations grow, Dallas knows that just looking to get into the postseason is no longer going to cut it. They want to be battling for the top three spots in the Central Division and be more aware of the teams they are chasing than the ones trying to catch them.
“I really had no idea what the situation was going to be with me last year,” he said. “You have to earn your spot on this team every year and I am looking to be the best goalie at training camp and earn my spot. People talk about how we have had slow starts in the past so I want to have a good camp for myself and have a strong start to the season.”
“He [Oettinger] shot a 71 yesterday,” Seguin said about their team golf outing on Thursday.
“What did you shoot?”
“Higher,” Seguin laughed.
“It was cool to play Austin Country Club, I have really wanted to play there,” Oettinger said. “It was cool to get out there and taking some money from him [Seguin] and Pavs is a bonus. I beat Pavs, so I am pretty excited about that.”