The Calgary Flames will have a backup goaltender tonight with just 19 games of AHL experience. One that was selected 214th overall in 2019. One that is just 20 years old. They’ll also have a backup goaltender who has lost just six games since the end of the 2019-20 season.
Dustin Wolf has been recalled by the Flames under emergency conditions as Dan Vladar has been designated non-roster for tonight’s game against the Seattle Kraken. Brett Ritchie will also be unavailable as he was placed in the COVID protocol and did not travel with the team. Byron Froese has been assigned to the taxi squad.
Wolf, 20, was deemed too small in his draft year, so fell all the way to the seventh round, nearly going undrafted altogether despite leading the WHL in both save percentage (.936) and goals-against average (1.69). He went 41-15-2 for the Everett Silvertips that season and came back in 2019-20 to once again league the league in both categories, taking home CHL Goaltender of the Year honors. His 2020-21 season with the Silvertips was much of the same, as Wolf posted a .940 and 1.80 GAA while going 18-3.
He’s too small for professional hockey, some said, but Wolf has continued that outstanding play this season in the AHL. With a 14-0-2 record, .940 save percentage, and 1.84 GAA for the Stockton Heat, he’s done nothing but stop the puck at the pro level. While there’s still a long way to go before he puts up numbers like that in the NHL (or even receives playing time), it’s hard to bet against–and easy to root for–the young netminder.