Stars backup goaltender Scott Wedgewood appeared in his first game of the 2022-23 season on Thursday in Toronto. The 29-year-old Ontario native was spectacular, stopping 40 of 43 Maple Leafs' shots and helping Dallas kill seven of eight power plays in a 3-2 overtime loss.
“Felt good, first full three periods of the year,” Wedgewood said. “I felt good, felt calm, my reads were pretty good. Just off-puck stuff that you don’t get to really build up unless you’re playing, but was pretty on point.”
As a Stars fan, it can be easy to forget about Wedgewood. Starting goaltender Jake Oettinger has become an NHL superstar at 23 years old and continues to get better with every game that passes. But in order for Oettinger to be that guy, Wedgewood is going to play a massive role.
“We need to get him in,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said ahead of Wedgewood's first start. “When we were planning out the season, we wanted to make sure we got him in every two or three games. This is already four. With the way [Oettinger's] playing, you can make a case he could play every night. It’s a long season, and Wedgie is going to be a big part of this going forward."
Wedgewood arrived in Dallas at the perfect time in 2022. Oettinger had started nearly every game for the Stars and was beginning to hit a wall. With the Stars struggling to score goals and scratching and clawing their way to reach the playoffs, it was Wedgewood to the rescue.
After being traded to the Stars ahead of the March 21 trade deadline, Wedgwood went 3-1-3 with a .913 save percentage. He wasted no time either, stopping 47 shots in his debut at Carolina to steal a shootout victory over the Canes. Now with a new two-year contract, he should be even better this year.
Talk about making a great first impression 👀
Scott Wedgewood made 44 stops in his @DallasStars debut and established a franchise record for most saves by a goaltender in their first game with the club. #NHLStats: https://t.co/SVs54oeYxZ pic.twitter.com/EIdipG99sj
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 25, 2022
It is hard to say how many games Wedgwood will play this season. That is usually largely determined by the league standings. But with how well he has consistently played, the Stars coaching staff should have full confidence in throwing him into any game, at any time.
With DeBoer mentioning that he doesn't want Oettinger playing 60 or more games, expect Wedgewood to play anywhere between 25 and 30 games, barring any injuries to either goaltender.
"It’s not about taking a job," Wedgewood said during a phone interview. "It is always a team-first mentality for me. I obviously want to be in the net as much as possible but I am just going along for the ride here and chipping in when I can."