2023 FlamesNation prospect rankings: #1 Dustin Wolf

Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
6 months ago
As if it could be anybody else…
Dustin Wolf was the fourth-from-last player (and the last goaltender) taken in the 2019 NHL Draft. But since he’s been selected by the Calgary Flames, Wolf has emerged as one of the top young goaltenders in the game of hockey and one of the most exciting prospects in the Flames’ system.
For the second consecutive year, Wolf has been voted the top prospect in the Flames’ system by the FlamesNation staff.
Dustin Wolf
Born April 16, 2001 (age 22) in Gilroy, California
6′, 174 pounds
Selected in the seventh round (214th overall) by Calgary in the 2019 NHL Draft
Friends, here’s the thing about Wolf. Since he’s begun to play high-level hockey, he’s been two things at the same time: really good at his position, but doubted because he’s not physically large compared to most goaltenders.
He was selected in the fifth round of the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft and headed north to join the Everett Silvertips in 2017 after spending a few seasons playing local hockey in southern California – he spent a good chunk of his youth in Tustin, CA and played in the Los Angeles Jr. Kings system.
He spent 2017-18 as Carter Hart’s backup in Everett, then he became the starter when Hart went pro in 2018-19. Wolf posted wild numbers in that season, his draft year, leading the WHL in goals against average and save percentage, and being named a First Team All-Star, Scholastic Player of the Year and CHL Scholastic Player of the Year. He was selected by the Flames in the seventh round, 214th overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Since being drafted, Wolf has done everything except have sustained playoff success – and in his defence, the WHL didn’t have traditional playoffs in 2020 or 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But he led the Heat to the AHL’s conference finals in 2022 and the Wranglers to the second round in 2023 (where they were eliminated in a heck of a series by Coachella Valley).
But man, take a look at this kid’s crazy resume:
  • WHL Goalie of the Year – 2019-20 and 2020-21
  • CHL Goalie of the Year – 2019-20
  • USA Hockey Junior Goalie of the Year – 2019-20
  • World Junior gold medallist – 2020-21
  • AHL All-Rookie Team – 2021-22
  • AHL First All-Star Team – 2021-22 and 2022-23
  • AHL Aldege “Baz” Bastien Memorial Award (goalie of the year) – 2021-22 and 2022-23
  • AHL Hap Holmes Memorial Award (goalie on team with lowest goals against) – 2022-23
  • AHL Les Cunningham Award (most valuable player) – 2022-23
In each of the past four seasons, Wolf has been the best goaltender playing in his league. He’s been the best player on some very good junior and minor-pro teams, and he’s very much knocking on the door for a shot at regular NHL games. If he can translate a good chunk of what’s making him an effective minor-pro goaltender to the NHL level, he could potentially be somebody that has a tremendous positive impact on the Flames for years to come.
At this point, we’re running out of hyperbole for Wolf. If he did literally nothing else in his hockey career, he would have drastically exceeded the expectations folks should reasonable have for a seventh-round pick. And we’re pretty sure he has more left in the tank.

Expectations for 2023-24

If Wolf finds himself in the AHL, and for however long he finds himself there, we’re pretty confident given his track record that he’ll be one of the best players in that league. He’s really good. But at this point, it needs to be stated that he doesn’t have much left to accomplish in the AHL.
In 105 career AHL games, he has 77 wins and a .927 save percentage. He’s posted and sustained some pretty gaudy numbers. And since being drafted in 2019, Wolf’s done everything that’s been asked of him in every league he’s played in. It’s time to see what he can do in the NHL.

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