Heading into the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, goaltender Dustin Wolf wasn’t on many NHL groups’ radars regardless of posting an unimaginable 1.69 goals-against common (GAA) together with a .936 save share (SV%) in 61 appearances with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League (WHL). The greatest knock on him at the time was his size, which scared many groups away.
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With their last decide at 214th general, nevertheless, the Calgary Flames selected to provide the undersized netminder a probability. Since then, the now 21-year-old has solely continued to get higher, and is shortly making many groups round the league remorse not deciding on him in any of the six rounds prior.
Wolf Tearing Up AHL
After being drafted, Wolf returned to the Silvertips for 2 extra seasons, the place he continued to submit ridiculous stat traces. Still, many continued to stay hesitant given his 6-foot, 156-pound stature, and questioned how he would do when it got here to transitioning to the skilled recreation.
Many of these doubts had been shortly erased in his first skilled season in 2021-22. He instantly turned the beginning goaltender for the Stockton Heat, and by the time his rookie marketing campaign wrapped up, he had one other unimaginable stat line that featured a 2.35 GAA together with a .924 SV% in 47 video games. As a outcome, he shortly propelled up on the listing of the Flames’ prime prospects, although some nonetheless remained skeptical, desirous to see if it was a nice, one-year exhibiting, or a signal of what was to return.
Any that remained skeptical of Wolf have shortly been silenced, as he has by some means discovered a technique to be even higher in 2022-23. After a few shaky begins to start the season, he has shortly established himself as an elite goaltender at the American Hockey League (AHL) stage. He was just lately awarded goaltender of the month for December after compiling a .941 SV% together with an 8-1-0 file, bettering his season totals to a 2.09 GAA and a .932 SV% in 24 appearances.
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Both his GAA and SV% rank amongst the better of his opponents, whereas his 4 shutouts lead the league, as do his 19 wins. It has been an unimaginable first half of the season for a goalie who, all of a sudden, is closely considered the Flames’ prime prospect, and arguably the top goaltending prospect in the entire NHL.
“He just kind of goes about his business. He’s a work horse for us,” Calgary Wranglers head coach Mitch Love just lately mentioned on Flames Talk with Pat Steinberg. “His preparation really leads to his execution out there. Not surprised, the numbers you just read me are outstanding. Obviously, he’s a big reason for our season turnaround here early on.”
Wolf On His Way to Becoming Franchise Goaltender
While it’s nonetheless very early in Wolf’s profession, he’s exhibiting all the indicators of a goaltender who has the capability to develop into a true star at the NHL stage. Of course, he has not but appeared in any NHL motion, however he has regularly put up elite numbers at each stage all through his profession thus far, and remains to be very younger.
The luxurious for the Flames in the case of Wolf is that there isn’t any actual purpose to hurry him in his growth. Though neither Jacob Markstrom nor Dan Vladar have had excellent seasons, they’re each very succesful NHL netminders who ought to be capable of decide issues up in the second half of the 2022-23 marketing campaign.
As for when Wolf will get his alternative, that continues to be to be seen. Markstrom nonetheless appears to be the beginning netminder for this Flames crew for the foreseeable future provided that he has three extra seasons after 2022-23 on his contract, although maybe that might change transferring ahead with the continued emergence of Wolf. As for Vladar, he was just lately signed to a two-year extension in October, proving each administration and training employees are comfy with him as their again up for the time being.
Regardless of when that point comes for Wolf, he ought to proceed to stay the primary prospect in this group. He was merely an impressive steal for the Flames in the seventh spherical, and is simply persevering with to get higher. Fans of this group needs to be very excited for what the future holds in phrases of their goaltending.
Colton Pankiw is a former Jr. A hockey participant who now offers his information of the recreation by means of writing. He’s been a very lively and dependable supply for almost two years at The Hockey Writers. He is a credentialed author for the Calgary Flames but in addition does options on different groups all through the league. Other writing contributions embody: Yahoo Sports, Las Vegas Chronicle, Oil On Whyte, and Markerzone.com. Colton can also be a co-host of each Oilers Overtime and Flames Faceoff podcasts. Any interview requests or content material data will be made by means of him on Twitter. Take a take a look at his work right here.