Fresh off of being named the AHL’s Goalie of the Year as well as the First Team All-Star goalie, Calgary Flames prospect Dustin Wolf has officially captured the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s Most Valuable Player.
The Les Cunningham Award goes to Wolf
The award has been given out since 1947 to the player judged by media and players to be the most valuable to their team in the regular season, and that has clearly been Wolf this year. The 2019 seventh-round pick of the Flames ended the year with a 0.932 save percentage and a 2.09 goals against average, good for the best in the league. His seven shutouts led the league as well, and put him tied for 16th in AHL history for the most in a season. Perhaps most impressive, he led the Wranglers to 42 wins when he was in net, tying an all-time AHL record.
Wolf is the first goalie to win the award since Calgary Flames goaltending coach Jason LaBarbera won it back in 2004, and becomes just the eighth goalie ever to win the award. In a league that has prioritized scoring and forwards producing above a point-per-game pace, the Wranglers’ netminder has been exceptional in his time with the team.
What’s next for Wolf?
The prospect should hopefully get a role with the Flames as early as the start of next season. The Flames will have to make room for him, either moving Jacob Markstrom, or more likely trading away Dan Vladar. However, Wolf has shown in his time in the AHL that he is ready for the challenge. He got into and won his first ever NHL game in the 82nd game of the Flames’ season, and should be in the lineup when the puck drops on the 2023–24 season.
Photo by Candice Ward/Calgary Wranglers