Dustin Wolf refuses to go along with the scouting norms. The Calgary Flames prospect just keeps winning, collecting the WHL Goaltender of the Year award for the second year in a row. Wolf had another incredible season, posting a .940 save percentage in 22 appearances with the Everett Silvertips, going 18-3 in the process with four shutouts. He added a gold medal with the U.S. World Junior squad as well, while also making his professional debut with the Stockton Heat of the AHL.
Not bad for the 214th overall pick in 2019.
There has been no stopping (or perhaps plenty of it?) Wolf at the junior level, where he has won almost every trophy imaginable during his time with the Silvertips. He will leave the WHL with a career record of 106-34-6, 24 shutouts and a .935 save percentage. He becomes only the fourth goaltender since 2001 to win the Del Wilson Memorial Trophy multiple times, joining Cam Ward, Chet Pickard and fellow Silvertips alumni Carter Hart.
Now, the question will be whether his size holds him back at the next level. Wolf measures in at a generous 6-foot-0 and weighs just 168 lbs, which would make him one of the smallest goaltenders in the NHL. That’s exactly why he slipped to the seventh round, but it is impossible to ignore what he has done since the Flames took a chance on him two years ago.
Recently, there has been something of a resurgence of small goaltenders. Alex Nedeljkovic, a finalist for the Calder Trophy this season, faced a similar uphill battle because of his six-foot stature, but took advantage of an opportunity in Carolina and posted outstanding numbers for the Hurricanes this season. Juuse Saros, who many believe should have been a finalist for the Vezina this year is officially listed at 5-foot-11. Anton Khudobin is also listed at 5-foot-11 and carried the Dallas Stars to the Stanley Cup Final last year. Jonathan Bernier (6-foot-0), Antti Raanta (6-foot-0), and Jaroslav Halak (5-foot-11) are other goaltenders who have found plenty of success in the NHL despite not being quite as lengthy as their contemporaries.
There’s no guarantee that Wolf makes it, but at this point, it doesn’t make much sense to bet against him. He’ll get a chance to show what he can do at the pro level next season, which will end up being the first season of his three-year entry-level deal (the contract was signed in 2020, but will slide forward this year after he spent the season in junior).