FlamesNation Mailbag: When will Dustin Wolf take over with the Calgary Flames?

Photo credit:David Moll / Calgary Wranglers
Mike Gould
1 year ago
Welcome to the latest edition of our little ol’ mailbag. Ryan Pike is away on a mysterious vacation — somewhere scenic, we’re sure — which means I’ve been tasked to answer all your questions. Sorry in advance.
There’s no time for preamble. Let’s get on with the first question.
Look, I have no idea if Vlad Tarasenko would even have any interest in playing for the Flames at all. His contract carries a full no-trade clause. If he’s at all opposed to the idea of coming to Calgary, he won’t. Plain and simple.
That being said … Tarasenko strikes me as somebody on whom Brad Treliving and Co. might be interested in at least conducting some due diligence. He had a great comeback year in 2021–22 after a couple injury-shortened seasons and hasn’t exactly been the problem with this edition of the Blues.
But my guess is the Blues wouldn’t listen intently on any offer without a first-round pick. I don’t think the Flames are in any position to give up theirs for a 31-year-old rental winger with an extensive injury history. Pass.
Even if the Flames wanted to, I don’t think they could move Jacob Markstrom without taking a significant chunk of change back in return. Either that or they might have to part with a significant asset to move him — and I don’t get the sense they have any interest in doing that.
We have to face a harsh reality here: Markstrom just turned 33 and is about to enter the back half of a hefty contract. He’s been in Calgary for three seasons and has posted below-average results in two of them. How many teams would covet him at all?
For this season, the Flames need to get Markstrom going. For all the plaudits bestowed upon Dan Vladar to this point, he’s been merely average through 19 games and has yet to make a single playoff start in the NHL. Vladar is still pretty young — he won’t turn 26 until August — but he’s not the blue-chip guy in this organization. That’s Dustin Wolf.
I really do think there should be some urgency to get Wolf a few starts during this regular season after the team’s playoff fate is decided. Whether they end up clinching a playoff spot or being eliminated down the stretch, the Flames need to give Wolf a few reps to start getting a sense of what they have. He’s the best goaltending prospect in the sport right now, but there’s no such thing as a guarantee at that position.
My gut tells me Wolf is going to be something special in the NHL. He’s a perfectionist in every sense and what he’s done with the Wranglers and Heat over the last two seasons — particularly compared to his various tandem partners — has been nothing short of remarkable. I think it’s possible we might begin to see a succession plan put in motion this coming April, although still in very preliminary stages. Make no mistake: Markstrom remains this team’s Game 1 playoff starter, barring injury or a complete collapse.
I have no idea what is happening with Oliver Kylington this season. Given how long this has played out, I’m really beginning to wonder whether we see him at all in 2022–23. More than anything, I’m hoping everything works out with his situation and he’s eventually able to return to Calgary at full strength as both a player and an individual.
As for your premise — I would like to see the Flames acquire Shayne Gostisbehere, who is as close to being a Kylington facsimile as there is on the market. Assuming Chris Tanev returns before the start of the playoffs, I wouldn’t mind seeing an arrangement like this:
Noah Hanifin – Rasmus Andersson
MacKenzie Weegar – Nikita Zadorov
Shayne Gostisbehere – Chris Tanev
Michael Stone/Connor Mackey/Dennis Gilbert/etc etc etc.
That being said, I fully expect the Flames to acquire Luke Schenn from the Vancouver Canucks. I don’t think he provides much of anything they don’t already have in spades, but it just feels like something they’d do.
Probably not for quite a while. As you may know, the Flames will be taking on the Edmonton Oilers at Commonwealth Stadium on Oct. 29. Based on when we’ve seen the uniforms revealed for the outdoor games this season, I’d expect to see the Flames and Oilers unveil their 2023 Heritage Classic jerseys in conjunction with Adidas at some point in September.
The Flames have never worn a road uniform with an off-white base colour. Expect that to change.
On the surface, I wouldn’t mind McCabe — he’s 29, good at both ends of the ice, and signed at a reasonable $4 million cap hit. But while a player like Gostisbehere is a pending unrestricted free agent, McCabe is under contract through 2025. Given the Flames’ upcoming cap crunch, I can’t see them adding a player of McCabe’s financial profile unless they make a corresponding subtraction. And to that point — they already have Nikita Zadorov, who does a lot of the same things as McCabe for slightly less money.
I remember trying to do this once around nine years ago and ending up with a 2016–17 first line of Mike Cammalleri, Sean Monahan, and Curtis Glencross. One out of three ain’t bad.
I’m not going to do the full roster, but I’ll say I think Wolf will be the starting goaltender, Jeremie Poirier might be on the top defence pairing, and Connor Zary will be a winger in the middle six. Beyond that … well, you can call it a cop-out if you want. Sorry.
I’ll wrap things up with this one.
Johnny Gaudreau, without hesitation or elaboration.

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