It's pretty tough to get here, but if you get the chance, you will take it. That's why I'm here. I don't want to just play in the AHL, I want to make the team. I want to play for the Flames. I've put my heart and soul into that and we'll see what happens. - David Wolf
CALGARY, AB -- The Wolf has landed in Calgary, and he’s impossible to miss.
Standing at an imposing 6-foot-3 and weighing in at 220 pounds, David Wolf is taking the first step to discovering whether or not he has what it takes to crack the Calgary Flames at development camp.
“It's a dream come true, especially for European guys, to play one day, one time, in the National Hockey League,” said Wolf, who signed as a free agent with the Flames in May. “A lot of hockey players dream about that in Germany. It's pretty tough to get here, but if you get the chance, you will take it. That's why I'm here.
“I don't want to just play in the AHL, I want to make the team. I want to play for the Flames. I've put my heart and soul into that and we'll see what happens.”
Wolf joins the Flames organization after an impressive run in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). Though it started with the Hannover Indians, it was his play with the Hamburg Freezers that attracted Calgary to Wolf.
The 24-year-old scored 14 goals and 40 points in 48 games while amassing an impressive, league-leading 152 minutes in penalties.
It earned him a one-year, two-way contract with the Flames and the opportunity to compete for a spot on an NHL roster.
“I think when the first scouts came to Europe to come talk to me, I realized I might have a shot to get a contract,” Wolf said. “I worked harder and someone signed me. I'm happy about that.”
The hard work isn’t over for the Duesseldorf product. Far from it, in fact.
But confidence is high.
Having played with Dallas Stars standout Jamie Benn during the work stoppage and several other former NHLers along the way, Wolf realized the NHL wasn’t out of his grasp.
“We have a lot of ex-NHL guys on my team,” he said. “I played with Jamie Benn two years ago in the lockout, so I know what it's about to play in the National Hockey League, what I have to do. Also, I have a lot of older experienced players who told me a lot of stuff, and my dad, too.
“From everybody, I've taken their help and worked myself.”
The work continues this week at development camp.
Though he’s got six years on the most recent crop selected in the 2014 NHL Draft, the trip is a necessary step for the European pro, who attended a similar camp with the Toronto Maple Leafs two summers ago.
“Actually, I hope I still can skate because the last few months I wasn't on the ice,” Wolf said. “In Germany, we don't have ice in the summertime, so I hope I get quick into it the first two days and then I will be ready for the scrimmage.”
With that in mind, the kids in camp aren’t necessarily about to take it easy on the veteran.
The massive Wolf, though, isn’t sure how much he’ll be allowed to give it back.
“Of course, I'm going to ask the coaches how hard we can play,” he said. “And then I will see what happens.”
If all’s fair, the rambunctious Wolf will be able to showcase what made him a highly coveted free agent.
After all, those 18-year-olds aren’t regular kids in his eyes.
“When I watch these kids, they don't look like kids,” Wolf said. “They're 17, 18 years old, and they're huge. They look like men and I think they're going to play like men. They all have a dream to play one day in the National Hockey League, so there's no friends out there.
“They want to get a shot.”
So does Wolf, who has started down the path of getting his at development camp.