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Dustin Wolf is showcasing lots of confidence and has been a bright spot in Flames recent run of play

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
3 months ago
For anyone who was clamouring for Dustin Wolf to get some time as the Calgary Flames starter, well, you are getting your wish.
Wolf has started the last two games for the Flames and has been fantastic in both starts, making some fantastic stops and looking confident throughout the 120 minutes of game time.
It’s worth getting to the caveat early: yes, it has only been two games. That fact is not lost on me, and it should not be lost on anyone else who is excited about these performances. But, it’s also important to start building this foundation for the young goaltender, especially after a less-than-optimal start to his NHL career.
Four of Wolf’s nine starts this season ended with him below a .900 save percentage. According to Evolving-Hockey, his first five starts of the year were all negative in goals saved above expected (GSAx), but the most recent three games (two starts and the one relief appearance against the Colorado Avalanche) have all been on the positive side of zero.
Not only do his numbers reflect better performance, but when watching him play, there is a certain confidence he has after his most recent call up.
Wolf spoke about his comfort level while speaking to the media following his 36-save game against the Montreal Canadiens.
“I think every time you get to play more minutes, you feel more and more comfortable,” Wolf said. “I saw a lot of rubber today and that got me into the game pretty quick. We put up five [goals], so it makes my life pretty easy back there.”
But we can’t discuss the tangible aspects of Wolf’s game at this point without investigating the clips.
The first clip I want to show is when Wolf came in relief for Dan Vladar against the Colorado Avalanche. A fantastic rush by the newly acquired defenceman Sean Walker put MacKenzie Weegar on his heels and forced Wolf to make an athletic save moving laterally.
Next, Wolf makes a fantastic save on Canadiens forward Cole Caufield, then after a Martin Pospisil turnover, he makes another save on Caufield moving once again from side to side.
And here’s another save, this time on the penalty kill after a Juraj Slafkovsky blast in the right circle.
Of course, there are going to be bumps in the road and things that the rookie needs to work on. However, Wolf was able to make up for a bad play with the puck.
And this may be the biggest save of them all between the two games. A huge save on Ivan Barbashev keeps the game at one goal a piece, and then the puck is quickly transitioned the other way, and Blake Coleman scores:
Wolf has needed the kind of confidence he’s showing at the NHL level right now. Not only will it help him in the future as an individual, but any good effort is an important one to him claiming a full-time job with the Flames.
Many fans believed before the season started that he should have been up with the team, and while that did not happen, he’s showing now that it may be time for management and the coaching staff to consider him more seriously than he was being considered before. With the trade deadline having come and gone, it’s going to be harder to find him a spot, but he is the future of the Flames net, so continuing to give him reps at the highest level will be as important as anything.
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