Is it Time for The Flames to Give the Net to Dustin Wolf?

Dustin Wolf in net for Calgary Flames Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images
Photo by Christopher Mast/NHLI via Getty Images

After being one of the league’s best teams last season, the Calgary Flames missed the Stanley Cup playoffs this season. 

One of the main reasons they are sitting home right now watching the postseason is because of the inconsistent play of their goaltenders, Jacob Markstrom and Dan Vladar. Yes, the team’s defense certainly did not help them, but when it comes down to it, the goaltending should have been much better this season, and had that been the case, they would have made the playoffs.

Markstrom, 33, had a disappointing season this year after having an outstanding one last year when he was one of the best goaltenders in the league. Last season, Markstrom was 37-15-0-9 with a 2.22 goals-against average, a .922 save percentage, and nine shutouts.

This season, Markstrom went 23-21-0-12 with a 2.92 goals-against average, a .892 save percentage, and one shutout. He allowed a lot of soft goals this season, had pucks go through him on many occasions, and looked nowhere near like the goaltender he was last season.

Vladar, 25, was not much better. He finished the year 14-6-0-5 with a 2.91 goals-against average and a .895 save percentage.

Based on the above, it is clear that the Flames will need to be better in goal next season if they want to get back to the playoffs. If Markstrom or Vladar cannot do that, the Flames have someone waiting in the wings that might end up being a lot better than both of them and should be given consideration to play a lot of games next season.

I am talking about Dustin Wolf. Wolf, 22, made his NHL debut this season on April 23rd against the San Jose Sharks and picked up the victory by stopping 23 of 24 shots.

It was in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the Stockton Heat and Calgary Wranglers, however, where he made his mark the last two seasons. This season, Wolf won the Harry “Hap” Holmes Memorial Award as the AHL’s best goaltender. He also won the Les Cunningham Award as the AHL’s most valuable player in helping lead his team to the regular season title this year.

In the regular season this year with the Wranglers, Wolf went 42-10-12 with a 2.09 goals-against average, a .932 save percentage, and seven shutouts. He played more minutes (3,238), faced more shots (1,653), and made more saves (1,540) than any other goaltender in the AHL this season.

Wolf was also stellar in his rookie season last year with the Heat. He went 33-9-4 with a 2.35 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage.

Regardless of what happens to the Wranglers in the AHL playoffs, it is clear that Wolf has accomplished everything there is to do at the AHL level. Sure, he could spend another year with the Wranglers and dominate the league again as he did in his first two seasons, but how does that help both him and the Flames?

It is time for the Flames to see what they have in Wolf and give him a shot to earn the net next season because if he can translate his success at the AHL level to the NHL level, the Flames could be set in goal for a very long time.

June 26 – Week 3 Breakdown, The Fallout of the games, Looking ahead to week 4 PLUS the HSP Week 3 Power Ranking Reveal Hughes Sports Podcast- HSP

Welcome to The HSP (Hughes Sports Podcast) – your ultimate source for all things sports! In this exciting episode, airing from June 19th to Week 3 of CFL (Canadian Football League) action, we dive deep into the thrilling world of sports!Join us as we dissect the latest CFL highlights, bringing you the most exciting moments from Week 3 of this action-packed football league. From jaw-dropping touchdowns to awe-inspiring interceptions, we've got you covered with expert analysis and comprehensive game breakdowns.Tune in to The HSP for an engaging and informative episode that caters to sports enthusiasts and fans alike. Our knowledgeable hosts and guests bring their expertise to the forefront, delivering engaging discussions, captivating interviews, and thought-provoking analyses.Don't miss out on the excitement! Subscribe to The HSP channel now and hit the notification bell to stay updated with the latest episodes. Whether you're a die-hard sports fan or enjoy keeping up with the hottest sports news, The HSP is your go-to destination for all things CFL and beyond. Get ready to be entertained, informed, and inspired by our passionate team of experts.
  1. June 26 – Week 3 Breakdown, The Fallout of the games, Looking ahead to week 4 PLUS the HSP Week 3 Power Ranking Reveal
  2. HSP -June 19 – Week 2 of the CFL, OEL Buyout and the Hughes Sports CFL Power Rankings
  3. HSP – June 12th – Breaking Down Week 1 of the CFL Season Plus a Rant about Leaving the Stadium Early.
  4. HSP – Jun 5th 2023 – Arland Bruce III on his career, legacy, and what is next
  5. HSP – May 29th 2023 – Canucks Cap Issues, CFL Pre-Season and Arturs Silovs is the man!!!

Patrick Hoffman

Patrick covers the NHL for Inside The Rink. He has previously covered the league for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave, WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.

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