There’s a very good chance that in a number of years, fans and scouts alike will marvel at how Dustin Wolf went 214th in the draft. “Remember how we thought him being small would matter more than literally everything else about him?” they’ll say as Wolf wins the Vezina.
Okay, so that may be getting ahead of ourselves here, but we ranked Wolf 200 spots ahead of his draft pick at 14th for the Flames top prospects, so clearly there’s a ton of potential in this kid.
How did we get here?
Wolf was born in Tustin, California, which is fun because it rhymes with his first name. He played minor hockey for the Los Angeles Jr. Kings for three years before playing in the Western Hockey League for the Everett Silvertips the last two, where he played backup/successor to now-Philadelphia starting goalie Carter Hart.
He was then drafted in the final round at this year’s draft, with the fourth-to-last pick. Thanks to Vancouver being so close to Washington state, Wolf and his family drove up for the draft and waited until the end hoping to his name called.
His mother cried when it did. The Flames brought him a jersey when they realized he was still there. It’s a very heartwarming story.
Stats, numbers, and everything therein
Where do we start?
As detailed in a fantastic closer look at Wolf by Christian Tiberi, there are a number of incredible statistics that Wolf boasts. Some of the highlights are:
- Best goalie in the WHL by SV% (among regular goaltenders)
- 27 games total where his SV% was over .950
- Most minutes played of all goaltenders
- His .936 SV% was nearly 40 points higher than the WHL average (.899)
- Speaking of averages, he maintained a 100% scholastic average
It’s incredible that someone that can boast all that amongst a plethora of other statistics was still available in the seventh round, but that’s the obsession with height that NHL scouts have.
Even in the playoffs when those numbers dipped, he still had a .914 SV% as he and the rest of the Tips fell just shy of the WHL Championship. With the goalie slots all full at the professional level, it’ll be very exciting to see how Wolf builds off those numbers in his draft+1 year.
Those in the know
The future is bright for Wolf, and that sentiment is echoed by those who spent the most time watching him, like Director of Broadcasting and PR for Everett Mike Benton:
At this point it’s fine tuning his details. People tend to forget he’s just turning 18, and still has more room to fill out, which is quite frightening based on the numbers he put up. Good goaltending coach in James Jensen (Devan Dubnyk, Freddie Andersen, Eric Comrie pupils) working with him.
Julia Hamilton, Everett’s beat reporter for the WHL Network, thinks that adjusting to his size is the only thing Wolf has to work on:
I would say that the only thing he needs to continue to work on would be the way he uses his small frame in net. He excels at this now in the WHL, but his height was a point of contention in the NHL Draft, so he has something to prove in terms of how we would match up against larger, professional hockey players.
On the horizon
Similar to most Flames prospects, there is no need to rush Wolf into the NHL. He’ll have at least one more season in the Dub to continue to impress before he makes the jump to the pros. Perhaps he will be the Flames goaltending draftee that works out, delivering on a promise that so many have failed to.
If he doesn’t, then the Flames took a worthwhile gamble with the 214th pick, and it didn’t pan out. C’est la vie.
|#20 – Lucas Feuk||#19 – Josh Nodler|
|#18 – Linus Lindstrom||#17 – Carl-Johan Lerby|
|#16 – Artyom Zagidulin||#15 – Demetrios Koumontzis|