24Dustin Wolf
Photo Credit: Chris Mast/Everett Silvertips

The waiting was the hardest part for Dustin Wolf

After drafting players from Quebec, Russia, Sweden and the United States in prior rounds, the Calgary Flames went back to their roots in the seventh round by grabbing a Western Hockey League standout. They selected Dustin Wolf, a stellar junior netminder who happens to stand a mere 5-feet-11 inches tall and weigh just 160 pounds.

Taking over from Carter Hart as the starter of the Everett Silvertips in 2018-19, Wolf was more than up to the challenge. He led the WHL in save percentage, while sitting among the circuit’s leaders in the other major categories like wins and goals against average.

The bad news is, likely due to his stature, Wolf was ranked 12th among North American goaltenders by the NHL’s Central Scouting Service. He came to Vancouver for the draft and waited. And waited. And waited. With many NHL clubs packing up their stuff, he was finally selected at 214th overall.

“Huge relief, obviously,” said Wolf of being selected fourth-from-last in the 2019 NHL Draft. “When you’re that close, maybe you’re not going to get picked. So to hear your name called is even more special. It’s something I’ll never forget.”

Wolf has only visited Calgary a handful of times, but he isn’t wholly unfamiliar with the Flames organization. His Everett teammate Jake Christiansen attended Flames rookie camp last fall and shared his positive experiences with Wolf.

If the pick works out, Wolf could be an amazing story. The Flames have selected goaltenders in recent years who fit the prototypical mold of what a goaltender should be in the modern game – big, wide dudes like Jon Gillies (six-foot-six, 223 pounds), Mason McDonald (six-foot-four, 201 pounds) and Tyler Parsons (six-foot-one, 190 pounds).

So far, none of those guys have worked out and the organization’s top goaltender is David Rittich, someone they found by accident while scouting somebody else in the Czech Extraliga. Drafting a sub-six-foot kid from California to be a starting goaltender isn’t a conventional move. But the conventional moves haven’t worked out so far, so going off the beaten path makes a ton of sense.

Three days prior to Wolf’s selection, an undrafted OHL free agent won the Norris Trophy as a member of the Flames. Sometimes unconventional moves work out. Regardless, the waiting is over for Wolf and he’s well-aware that now the work of inching his way towards a potential NHL job fully begins.

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  • Em Durp Em Hrudey

    Wolf’s movement in the net is almost flawless. See’s the ice well and anticipates they play. I personally feel he is a great pick up so late in the draft. He will be an NHL goalie in the future.

  • Franko J

    By far the best pick for the Flames value wise. I had him and Isaiah Saville as the 2 goalies on my draft list. Glad they were able to draft him because he makes up for a very ho-hum lacklustre draft for the Flames.

  • Baalzamon

    Parsons is not a “big, big dude”. He’s less than two inches taller than Wolf.

    Parsons is a lot more like Wolf than he is like Gillies. A “smaller” athletic goalie rather than a tall man.

  • SgtRoadBlock

    i Seen some after party pics with Flames Staffer and the Draft picks/ Family in each Hotel rooms Burke in all of them sitting of standing lol…. hmm the more you know..
    it like Tod Buttons old Bro on TSN Rumors he still on the Flames pay role
    For me is this good news keep ever door open when it comes to Scouting
    GFG

  • Jimmyhaggis

    Uneventful day! No second pick hurts, Tre gave up so many picks in the last 3 years, no trade, see no upgrade to the team. Nobody really knows how picks 3 onward are going to pan out.
    Wolf may turn out to be a winner, but then again, who knows how goalies develop. Has Tre lost his magic?

    • SgtRoadBlock

      i see it as 3 part thing that holding things up the Huge ufa/Rfa market.. the Caphit for the top end teams and planning your roster for Seattle Draft. we will see a Huge Roster turn over change by that Date.

      GFG

    • Hockeysense9393

      BT already explained this in his pre-draft interviews and he was bang on. Big ticket RFA’s and the uncertainty with the cap ceiling held teams back. He predicted this and it played out exactly the way he seen it. He also said that there is a long summer before the puck drops for teams to make moves and reset. Fans need to relax a little and let it play out…he’s just starting. The market still needs to set itself some, so he’s waiting for some movement so there is better opportunities for some of the assets he may want to transition. It’s not like “that’s it” he didn’t do anything, so he’s now inept. He’s being smart about it. Relax and watch it play out.

  • Trevy

    Takes two to tango. Treliving was known in the past couple weeks, as one of the more active GM’s leading up to the draft. As a lot of GM’s said, the draft was somewhat deep and most teams wanted to keep their picks. The uncertainty of the salary cap also played a part in doing hockey trades as well. Now that the draft is over and we know the cap ceiling and floor going forward, this might spark another round of discussion

    • febreze

      Well remembered Albertabeef! I think Fred Brathwaite wouldn’t mind being 5’6 if it meant he could have had the current squad in front of him instead of what he had in the late 90’s. I think he held the fort relatively well considering the the exchange rate had hollowed out the Canadian teams by this time.

  • Garry T

    So, we tell all the teams out there that Brodie and Frolik are all wrapped up with a nice ribbon bow tie around their necks and no team bites? Strange.

    Time to watch the purse strings. Apparently Aho is asking for 9 mil! Wonderful. It is obviously time to lay down the law with these kids and their agents, They are messing up my favourite game! Marner apparently does not think $9 mil is enough and wants $11mil per. What a mess.

    • febreze

      I remember how Monahan took a bit of heat for being a bit soft in the playoffs. But the way salaries are going, his $6,375,000 is still a relative bargain for whatever he does end up bringing. Gaudreau’s even more value (and Lindholm and Hanafin’s are otherworldly winning contracts.) We didn’t win a Cup with the cornerstone forwards on their entry level deals but next best thing is the value we’re getting. I think the extreme value ends here though and Tkachuk gets 8+ mil. These next three years really are the time to win a Cup.

      • freethe flames

        We need to add two significant forwards to be in that conversation and the only way that happens is through a trade, the UFA market or by being selectively aggressive with an RFA. That can only happen if BT is able to create some salary space in the next 8 days,

  • BigChefJeff

    “Drafting a sub-six-foot kid from California to be a starting goaltender isn’t a conventional move.”

    You don’t draft someone in the 7th round to “be a starter”. You draft an asset that is going to take a considerable investment of resources, time, and patience to become anything. I am a huge fan of this pick–I was watching and hoping Flames would take him in the 5th round, ecstatic to see him nabbed in the 7th. The notion of “not taking goalies in the first round” is ridiculous–you take the best player available regardless of position. Goalies have a similar success rate in the late first round as skaters do. But the issue is they are typically on a longer development horizon, so if you don’t invest in their development properly, there is a greater chance it becomes a wasted asset. I sure hope Calgary follows suit of some other organizations and starts investing more in goalie development throughout the entire organization, not just at the NHL level.