Since taking over the reigns as GM of the Oilers, Peter Chiarelli has completely changed the club’s goaltending depth chart. Cam Talbot was instilled as starter under Chiarelli, while Laurent Brossoit was given time to develop into the club’s backup goaltender.
Below the NHL, Chiarelli added college netminder Nick Ellis in the summer of 2016 and he lit up the AHL in his rookie campaign. While he still has much to prove, Ellis has actually established himself as a legit NHL goaltending prospect. Dylan Wells was added via the draft and he has also emerged as a solid prospect, but it’s the third amateur goalie add that peaks my interest.
That third goalie is Shane Starrett, who left the NCAA and signed with the Oilers this past spring. After a successful run at the Air Force Academy, Starrett will begin his pro journey later this week in Oiler camp. He posted a 26-6-4 record a year ago with a .925 SV% and 1.99 GAA in 37 games and was stellar over the weekend in his one game in Penticton.
So….Just Who Is Shane Starrett?:
The 23-year old goaltender posted seasons of .924 and .925 save percentages in his two years at Air Force. While the school isn’t known as a hockey power, he was able to put himself on the map with solid numbers over the course of 70 college games. He played very well on an average club.
Starrett’s college coach had this to say about him:
“I have a lot of faith and confidence in Shane Starrett, It’s a tough road trying to make it to the National Hockey League, but he has the size, athleticism and skill set needed.” – Air Force coach Frank Serratore
Starrett also credits his time in the Air Force for his mental toughness, having the following to say:
“Being at Air Force definitely helped me mentally,” Starrett said. “There is a lot of mental tests when you go through basic and survival training. That helped me become mentally tougher and taught me how to best handle stressful situations. You feel you can get through any battle and that definitely has helped me become a better goalie.”
There isn’t a lot of info out there on Starrett, but his numbers speak for themselves, the kid can stop pucks.
What Can We Expect?:
I can’t say if Starrett will ever make it to the NHL, but he has a strong resume and the Oilers have actually done a good job bringing along young goalies in the last few seasons. If Edmonton takes their time with Starrett, he could be an option for NHL employment down the road.
At this time last year, we didn’t know much about Nick Ellis and he shocked us all by taking the AHL job and running with it over the course of the year. I won’t suggest Starrett does that, but only bring it up to prove the point that young goalies are very tough to read.
I’d wager that Starrett begins the season in the ECHL with the Wichita Thunder. This would allow Starrett to adjust to the professional game and handle a starting work load. I’d allow him to play the year out there and see if he can handle the rigors of the pro game.
If he forces his way up to Bakersfield, great. If not, the club can reevaluate and see if he is ready next fall to handle some AHL work.
Oiler fans should expect a heavy workload in the ECHL this season from Starrett, and I think it is safe to say they should be expecting a solid year out of him.