Flames Sign David Wolf (And Other Stuff)

The Flames have added some beef, as the team has added German winger David Wolf to a one-year contract.

Wolf, 24, was signed to the max entry-level contract length he can be under the CBA (1 year), and it has a cap hit of $925,000. His best attribute is his size (and meanness), as he’s listed as 6’3″, 215 pounds.

He makes the leap to North America after five years in the DEL, the main German league, playing with the Hannover Scorpions and the Hamburg Freezers. He amassed 128 points and 552 penalty minutes in 248 DEL games. He’s represented Germany at the World Under-18s and the World Juniors previously.

Before you panic, remember: it’s a two-way deal, and he’s never been out of Germany. This is probably an AHL move and if he’s decent, they can extend him. Players with size and a reputation for being tough customers now include Wolf, Bryce van Brabant, Michael Ferland and maybe Patrick Sieloff.

Anyhow, it’s a one-year deal, and one contract out of 50. It’s quite low-risk. The Flames presently have 34 players under contract for 2014-15.


Sven Baertschi broke a rib in Switzerland’s opening World Championship game and will miss the rest of the tournament. Johnny Gaudreau (USA), Jiri Hudler (Czechs), Mikael Backlund (Sweden) and Sean Monahan (Canada) all remain in Belarus for the Worlds.

Former Flame Roman Horak is headed to the KHL, signing with HC Vityaz. He’s a pending restricted free agent of the Edmonton Oilers, and him signing elsewhere this early suggests a doubt somewhere that he could be in the NHL with them next year. Horak’s been in North America for five seasons – two with WHL Chilliwack, and three years pro between Calgary, Edmonton, Abbotsford and Oklahoma City.

  • McRib

    “Players with size and a reputation for being tough customers now include Wolf, Bryce van Brabant, Michael Ferland and maybe Patrick Sieloff.”

    Agree with the statement, but think Michael Ferland has a substantial amount more offensive upside compared to the rest of these prospects.

  • McRib

    A Flames forward with last name Wolf, that’s pretty sweet. I frequent this site daily and I’m always amused to see the Flames sign a player I’ve never heard of. In all seriousness, looking at how some of the playoff games are going. When the top 2 lines aren’t going, the 3rd and 4th lines are making the difference in the game. Look at the Bruins and Habs series.

  • redricardo

    Victory!! We’re winning the arms race for nuclear deterrents!! Granted… We’re the only team competing in this race. But we’re winning.

    Anyone else get nervous when they heard the Maple Leafs are shopping Phaneuf to Western Conference teams? Burke already acquired him once…

    • TheoForever

      Actually we are not the only team competing. Wings and Jets wanted Wolf as well. In case of BvB others were interested as well. So, we are winning the race, the word is out in the fighter union that Calgary is the place to be.

    • T&A4Flames

      These players are important to Calgary as we have so many small young players.

      Injuries ruin what is important development time when teams feel they can take runs at you with impunity.

      I know many will disagree including the writers on this site… but their focus is more possession and stats etc… which doesnt take injuries into account.

      • Bean-counting cowboy

        What evidence do you have to suggest that injuries go down with having more face punchers in the league? I would to be curious to see the data. Teams that have by and large gone away from that model, what do their man-games lost look like. I would venture to bet there is no correlation.

        • T&A4Flames

          I just wrote that there is no way for stats to measure that. Ask the players themselves… what it is like to play without an enforcer… how other teams will try to bully you and intimidate you.Watch the Bruins.

          Ask the players themselves… these guys know more than you or any of the bloggers on this site.

          • beloch

            Don’t you think there is room for stats that find new ways to measure performance? I think most teams are paying attention to this stuff now, and if you refuse, you are sort of missing the boat.
            Maybe it isn’t the magic tool for building a champ, but I would rather put my faith in it than some dinosaur scout/ GM/ Coach shouting Beef!Truculence! Grit!

            Take a look at teams like Toronto that have a coach and maybe management that publicly deride the stats. Early in the season Carlyle was winning and he was fairly smug in his disdain. Later in the season as the wheels came off and, inexplicably to those in Toronto, their team royally crapped the bed (even in the East with much less dominant teams) and only finished a few points ahead of the Flames.

          • I never said stats are bad or that they shouldnt be used…

            My point was just that having a guy like Grats will be a deterent to injuries resulting from cheap shops..

            If you want to create a statistical method to verify whether I am correct or not… do it… feel free to do the heavy lifting

            but dont put words in my mouth i never said and make me out to be anti stats…

            Im just saying there are more ways than stats only too look at a situation… if you want to ONLY rely on stats… As most do who dont have an eye for the game or who havent played… then think as linear as you want to

          • The dude is seriously just coming across as the “you never played the game, therefore you don’t know” kind of guy.

            Stats alone = small portion of the overall picture

            Eye test = small portion of the overall picture

            Stats + Eye test = larger portion of the overall picture

          • FeyWest

            In the end I think as long as you have a team that stands up for one another and isn’t going to back down, you can essentially get rid of the whole “Enforcer” role, with a bigger and grittier team you don’t have to worry about the other team running you around. With that balance of size, skill, and heart I think you have a better overall team geared for long-term success.

            Stats are definitely welcome and a very useful source of information and helps you pick the right players no matter their size and you don’t get caught in “As Many” player traps and I’m pretty sure Boston is a big proponent of using stats even if they don’t shout out about it. Their drafting is very good and they are a bigger team there is no doubting that. I’d much rather have a Boston-Styled team over a Toronto-Style.

            However this is the chance for Calgary to build their own successful identity that other teams will want to image themeselves after and not the other way around. I’m pro stats but I can’t say they are the be all end all because there are many aspects that can’t be numerically modeled. But that’s just my $0.02

    • Parallex

      If he & Treliving could get him for the same price that Burke got him at the first time (So basically Russel [White], Stajan [Err…Stajan], and Jones [Hagman]) I’d have no objection.

      With regards to Wolf… he seems to have some actual hockey skills (at least at the DEL level) beyond being just a facepuncher so I have no objection to signing him. It’s a free lotto ticket… if it pans out great if it doesn’t then it cost the team virtually nothing.

      Edit: Is it just me or do the Maple Leafs habitually develop buyers remorse more often then any team in the league?

      • beloch

        Phaneuf is 29 and isn’t getting it done as a first pairing defender in Toronto. His point generation is okay, but his possession stats are just plain ugly. He’d be a good second pairing defender, but you simply can’t pay a second pair defender $7m/year.

        Given that he would clearly be a second pairing defender in Calgary, the only way I can see Burke/Treliving acquiring Phaneuf is if Toronto packages him up with some picks and prospects as a salary dump. There’s no way anything significant should be going in the other direction from the Flames. That contract is just too ugly!

        Oilers fans, on the other hand, should be more nervous. First of all, Phaneuf is an Edmonton boy, and Lowe/MacT sure love anything familiar. Phaneuf would also be an upgrade for their first pair basically because the Oilers don’t have a first pair right now. However, at 29 he’s not going to be a long-term pillar for them to build on even if his over-generous salary will be on the books long-term. He’s also not a guy I’d want to add to a dressing room that already has more problems than any other in the league.

          • MWflames

            Kris Russell is from Caroline.

            Dion Phaneuf grew up in sherwood park I believe. I know people that had interactions with Phaneuf growing up. He was a meat head back then too, if you were wondering.

          • I used to have to work security at concerts in red deer when I was playing rugby and I had to remove phaneuf for being a drunk a-hole. He was not pleasant to deal with. I was happy to see him traded from the flames and have no desire to see him in red in the future. It wouldn’t hurt my feelings to see him playing with the oilers for sure. They could probably use him, but like Toronto he would be put in a role over his head as the #1 dman. He would really fit in a place like LA or minnesota where he could be used as an offensive specialist 2nd pairing guy. Thats a tough contract to absorb though. He reminds me of an overhyped Dennis wideman.

            I would take spezza in a minute if he was up for grabs. Maybe for glencross and a 2nd rounder..

          • Howie Meeker

            You would give up a long term cap friendly player(solid 2nd liner) and a second rounder (I assume the 2015 talent ridden draft) for an overpaid inconsistent goal scorer with 1 year remaining on his contract? Oh..almost forget he has had MAJOR back surgery as well!

            hmmm….your fired!!

          • I’m fired eh… spezza has scored 668 points in 667 games. You say that’s inconsistent? That’s a pt a game pal. Oh and he’s a #1 center that we don’t have and have not had since the 90s. Glencross is a 2nd line left winger, do we have anyone who can fill that role I wonder? Possibly Guadreau, Beartshi, Granlund, Poirier, Hudler or Galliardi. Bob MacKenzie was saying ottawa is looking for 1st, prospect and roster player, glencross and a 2nd is hardly overpayment.

          • T&A4Flames

            Your not getting your job back…you didn’t address the serious injury issues that Spezza has had. Does that not concern you??

            Your like Darryl Sutter…giving up 2nd rounders like there popcorn! In a rebuilding year and in the strongest NHL draft in recent memory do you not think 2nd rounders would come in handy? What will Spezza do for you in a rebuilding year other than help you go from 27th overall to possible 25th? 24th?

            Have you not learned from your “Sutter” strategy…can you remember when the Flames made the playoffs last…26th overall and 27th overall the last couple of years? You still chose to employ that failure strategy?

          • piscera.infada

            I completely agree re: not trading picks and young players away for Spezza – the guy is surely to be trending down by the time this team is competitive. I also have serious doubts that if you placed him on the team next year (with the additions of this years draft pick – likely a centre), he makes the Flames appreciably better. Is he a first line centre? Yes. But for now, Backlund can eat those minutes, and maybe you continue to see growth from him. Thus, all Spezza really does for the Flames next year is clog up the centre ice position.**

            My hope, is that come mid-season Monahan can handle second line duty, with (ragin’) Stajan playing 3/4 minutes, leaving more skilled wingers (than Grats and Westgarth/replacement) for a younger centre to develop when he’s ready to step in. If not, you still have Stajan playing second-line minutes – not the end of the world.

            But seriously, let’s not already start the whole “next year’s draft is the most skilled in a decade” talk already. Let’s at least see how everything settles outside the top-2 before we start that nonsense again.

            **As an aside: If this were the Iggy-epoch, Spezza definitely makes sense – someone mentioned the “number one centre” syndrome. The thing is, at this point, it makes way more sense to see if we can develop one in-house. If not, you by all means start looking (but, for a young number 1 – a la Joe Thornton years ago, to San Jose). Point is, we just drafted Monahan, and it looks like we’re drafting another high first-round centre this year.

          • T&A4Flames

            Has everyone just forgotten that we are in a rebuild??! Like, WTF is going on with people making up all these trade proposals for these post apex players? We’re not getting Spezza for an aging winger and a 2nd. Besides why do even that? If that’s what gets him it’s not like we’re going to be able to turn it around for a 1st.

            People, please stop dreaming of a Stanley cup run next year and start preparing for another losing year. We have AT LEAST one more losing year before we even make the playoffs and certainly any kind of run in them.

          • Yeah, those are the kinds of trades the Flames should be making when they’re on the upswing, to take them over the top. Not now when it won’t make an appreciable difference in team fortunes and will make them much worse in even the moderate-run.

          • Burnward

            I’d take Spezza if the price is right. But, I believe this team is closer to being relevant than a lot of other people, I think.

            Solid D corps, Ramo proved he can play in this league, some good veteran depth, promising youth, and a strong team work ethic.

            When healthy last year, they played with anyone.

            And at 30, it’s not like Spezza is ancient. He’s got five years at least left. His health is a concern, but that could hurt the seller more than the buyer.

            He’s also very good at hockey.

      • Michael

        I guess if we could trade Wideman to TO and have the Leafs eat the salary difference, then it would be okay. He fits the Burke mould of “Beef” (and caveman-like facial features) and is also an actual hockey player.

        Some loon on Hockey Buzz (whatever that was) was going on about a Gio and Phaneuf trade. He must be out of his mind (or from Toronto)

    • RedMan

      If Dion shows up in Calgary… that would really strike a blow to my loyalty of the Flames… would Burke do something that risky? he did sign him once and made the egregious mistake of making him captain right away… hopefully Burke learned his lesson and takes a pass… but it does make me nervous

  • FeyWest

    I’m always a big proponent to these Low-Risk experimental signings, just like Cervenka albeit an unfortunate failure, I think it’s good to see what you may uncover and in this case we aren’t hearing the “Best player outside of the NHL…” hype-train.

    Looking forward to it 🙂

    *EDIT* Also surprised Edmonton didn’t play Horak more, it’s quite unfortunate

    • McRib

      Roman Horak is an RFA so Edmonton had his negotiating rights. If he is going to the KHL though it likely is for a major payday and he has put NHL Dreams aside for Money it seems, as 2/3 line KHLers make about 3x more than Top AHLer/NHL Callups. Glad we didn’t invist too much in him all considering.

  • McRib

    Solid signing. He’s an above average skater with not-so-bad hands a real tough customer. Interesting to see how he does in NA.

    Surprised Horak couldn’t catach on elsewhere as a 3rd/4th liner. He was really starting to look solid to me before the Flames traded him.

    • beloch

      The Oilers really blew it with Horak. They gave him one game with the big club in December and sent him down. He then proceeded to score at a 0.91 pace in the AHL. Despite the steaming pile of a gong show that is the Oilers two bottom lines, they didn’t call Horak up again until the very last game of the season. He scored in that game, but it was clearly too little too late.

      No 22-year-old with a NHLE of 32.6 should give up on making it into the NHL. Horak needs to keep developing but, above even that, he needs to get noticed. He’s not going to do that by being the best center Edmonton refuses to call up. Playing in the KHL lets him play at a higher level than the AHL and might get him noticed by a team willing to offer-sheet him next year. This could be the difference between getting a one-way NHL contract or continuing to be ignored by the clowns at Rexall.