The Calgary Flames have really struggled to find their goalie of the future over the last decade. From Joni Ortio to Jon Gillies to Reto Berra to Tyler Parsons and more, the Flames have been entirely unsuccessful in net when drawing from their prospect pool. However, they may have finally found the solution in Dustin Wolf.
Wolf keeps earning accolades
Now in his second season in the AHL, Wolf has owned the starting role for his team basically since he arrived, picking up a spot in the league’s All-Rookie Team, First All-Star Team, and even winning the AHL’s Goalie of the Year award last season. All three are massive accomplishments for a rookie goalie.
Now Wolf is on pace to break a major record in the league. He is just one win away from tying and two wins away from breaking the AHL’s all-time record for wins in a season. So far, Wolf has 41 wins this season, tying him for second in the league with Ryan Miller’s 2004–05 season with the Rochester Americans. The current record is held by Peter Budaj with 42 wins from his 2015–16 season with the Ontario Reign.
Wolf also holds the record for the 29th most wins in the league from his rookie season—a whopping 33 victories in 47 games.
The Calgary Wranglers have 50 wins this season, and have just two games left in the season: a back-to-back against the Abbotsford Canucks on April 14 and 15.
Coming off of his first NHL game and win against the San Jose Sharks, Wolf could break the record if the team can win both games this week. However, it is unlikely the team will let him start both games. The team is playoff bound and will want to ensure Wolf is fresh for the playoffs. Even prior to his call-up to the Flames, the Wranglers had slotted in Oscar Dansk for a few extra games.
The Wranglers are currently sitting at the top of the AHL, but are in a fight with the Coachella Valley Firebirds for the top spot in the AHL. The winner earns a bye in the first round, and the Wranglers will desperately want that spot. Coming off of a loss against Abbotsford this week, they really need to finish strong, and this makes a strong case of putting Wolf back between the pipes for that.
What’s next for Wolf
Even if Wolf wins none of the next two games, his season will still be a historic one, and bodes really well for his future. The young netminder looks like an NHLer already, and put up the best numbers in the AHL this season. Already named to the First All-Star Team again for the second year in a row, Wolf should very well earn the AHL’s MVP award this season too. And he will hopefully have a spot in the NHL with the Flames next season.
Photo by Candice Ward/Calgary Wranglers