I sat down with new Stars goaltender, Scott Wedgewood to discuss his transition to Dallas and his outlook on the remainder of the 2021-22 season.
Wedgewood on His Transition to Dallas
Sam: How have you enjoyed your transition to Dallas since the trade?
Scott: Right away, with the capacity of the fans and the interactions and playing well in that first game definitely boosted the morale a little bit around my situation. Team-wise, you can’t ask for much more. Tyler Seguin and I have some history, Luke Glendening, I knew Joel Hanley in Arizona and some other guys throughout time. The group has been great and I can’t really complain about the whole thing.
Sam: How has the transition been going from mostly teams that are near the bottom of the standings to right in the thick of an intense playoff race in Dallas?
Scott: It honestly has not been much on a personal note, it is more the situation around me. The way I approach a game, my day-to-day pro lifestyle has been very consistent to try and get the same amount of consistency out of my game. Getting in here and seeing how much the coaches care, the team cares, looking at scores from the night before, breaking everything down, and really giving yourselves the best chance to win.
Everyone is driving towards the same goal. Guys are sacrificing in situations, shot blocks, putting your body on the line to get things done and it’s nice. This is obviously what you play for. You want to win, you want a chance at a championship.
The Impact of Having Familiar Faces Within the Stars Dressing Room
Sam: How big has it been having so many familiar faces from day one coming into a new situation?
Scott: It’s actually really helpful. I have moved multiple teams now and you usually get one or two but I think I have like four or five here. Tyler reached out right after the trade and called the next morning to kind of give me the lay of the land. He gave me his address early on so I could ship some things to his house and make it a little easier on me.
Jamie Benn reached out being a good captain, Studenic and Hanley we were talking, and Glendening, I am actually hanging out with him right now. It kind of breaks the ice. Once you see the guys they are close with on the team, it makes it a little easier for everyone to trust each other.
Sam: Do you have any funny stories about Tyler Seguin? And are there any stories about you that he could be telling around Dallas?
Scott: Oh boy. He actually used to drive me to high school. I had a lot less of an absent count than he had. He was obviously a hell of a player back then and still is. He already roasted me with the pink hair photo that went out.
I was a big video game guy back then and still am now a bit of a nerd. No style, I used to wear vintage hockey t-shirts. He had a different style and presence at school. I was a little bit more kept to myself. He had the big spotlight on him and it was interesting to watch how he handled it.
I picked up some things of what to do and what not to do. Even now, the guy makes a lot of money and has been a star in the league for a long time, and the way he handles it, it has always been something you watch and learn from. It’s nice to see he is still the same kind of nice guy, engaging and involved, and makes everyone feel welcome, which is a great trait to have when you have a spotlight on you your whole life.
Where Wedgewood Sees Himself Fitting in
Sam: Have you set any specific individual goals since the trade or is it more team-focused?
Scott: I said it on day one, I am all in with these guys to go for it. Whether I play five games, three games, or eight games, it doesn’t matter. If I can help in 20 minutes or 60 minutes a couple of times throughout the rest of the season. Oettinger is playing well and if I get called on or not in the playoffs. It’s not about taking a job. It is always 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.
Sam: You have mentioned the mental aspect a few times during the first week or so. That is such an underestimated part of the game, especially for goalies. Do you mind elaborating on that process and what it has done for you?
Scott: I didn’t want to be naive. I talked to my wife about it a lot. I am not mentally weak by any situation. I am pretty even keel, I always am calm, I never snap or anything like that. But, there are times in the game where I have a realist personality and you are up by a couple of goals and they are pushing and you think “we missed on that open net, if we would have scored, the game would be put away,” and you sort of build a snowball against yourself. I wanted to talk to someone to see if there were a few skillsets or different traits I could use to block those thoughts or re-word them.
It would be a regret to go through it and be like I was too naive or stuck up to seek help. It’s more of a muscle, can I train myself to be a little bit better in a certain situation? Like I do in the offseason, you train your legs, you train your body, why not approach the mind? It’s actually paying off.
I started talking to him right around Christmas. Ever since then, it has been a lot calmer in my head and a lot easier to approach the day and goal at hand and not overthink who you are playing or what you are playing for. It gives you another muscle you activate before the game and it was nice to have different thoughts where you don’t have a biased opinion and where you can talk freely. It was something that I didn’t know if I wanted to jump over that line, but I am obviously happy that I did.
Sam: How have you meshed with Jake Oettinger and Jeff Reese so far and what have you seen from Jake’s game early on?
Scott: He’s young, he wants to play every game. We didn’t talk much but I told him “Hey, I don’t want your job, I just want mine, let’s work together. You are obviously playing well, keep running with it.” I know a few of his old goalie coaches and they told me as soon as I got here, “hey, you are going to love him, he’s a great kid.” Dealing with him and Jeff Reese every day, you have some good laughs and storytimes and things like that. One thing with the kid, you don’t think he’s 23 or 24, he’s got a bright future ahead of him for sure.
My Dad actually brought up when I first turned to goalie, I played for the Young Nats in Toronto, and we were looking for paint jobs. My dad found one of Jeff Reese’s old masks and it had a split logo of a Maple Leaf which was the Nats logo, so that’s how my first mask was painted in respect to one of Jeff Reese’s old ones. So I was showing him pictures of my old goalie mask and that thing is like eight inches wide, and it’s funny how the world comes full circle.
What the Future Could Look Like for Wedgewood & Dallas
Sam: Any sneak peek of what the new Stars mask will look like?
Scott: There will definitely be some Marvel stuff. Kind of tinkering to make it as team-based as I can. The green is fun to work with. I have a dog named Captain and another named Bucky so I am going to try to get a little bit of Captain America and Bucky Barnes tributes in there. I have a few good ideas.
The main thing is if it was me painting, I would just put four different situations on the mask and you would look at it and think “what the hell is going on?” So he is going to make it flow as an artist but that’s why they pay him the big bucks. We’ll get it figured out and It’ll work out great I think.
Sam: What do you believe is the ceiling of potential for this team this season?
Scott: I am honestly impressed watching them. They have speed, they have skill, they have veteran leadership, they have mobile defensemen, and they have guys that can shut the play down on both sides of it. If you are looking for a four-line weapon, you are not going to get much deeper than what we have.
The most impressive thing I have seen so far is the accountability out there. There is nobody taking liberties on the offensive or defensive side. You worry about the job at hand whether it’s blocking a shot or tying up a stick rather than cheating for offense. When you play a game like that, you are not going to have as many high-scoring affairs as a team that is more rush-and-go, but they also don’t give up as much.
Once you get into a playoff series, you can really grind teams down. When we get in the dance here, it is going to be a battle for anybody to come in and take us on. I am excited to run with it and being a part of it is going to be a nice change for me.
Wedgewood delivered a 47-save victory performance in his first start for Dallas and has been impressive so far with a 2-0-1 record and .905 save percentage. With the Stars playing 10 games in 18 days over the final stretch, it is likely that he will see his share of playing time as the Stars look to secure a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Latest News & Highlights
Sam Nestler is a credentialed Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the Stars, the NHL, and college hockey. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!