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'THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING'

Wolf eager to prove skeptics wrong after inking three-year entry level deal

by ALEX MEDINA @alex_medina5 / Calgaryflames.com

Here comes the Big Bad Wolf. 

The Flames added to a busy week of signings by inking goaltender Dustin Wolf to a three-year entry level deal. 

Often overlooked and doubted for his size all his life, he's the type of true underdog tale that everyone can get behind. 

"This is just the beginning," Wolf said on the signing. "It's a very exciting day for myself, my family and the people that supported me along the way, but this is where the real work begins to prove people wrong.

 

Video: "This is where the work begins."

 

"It's been a long and unique journey to get here but I wouldn't have had it any other way. Teams are going to be missing out, simply put. 
"I'm going to do my best to prove them wrong and make them regret not selecting me."

It was a long day but Wolf's name was finally called out by the Flames in the seventh round, 214th overall, in the 2019 NHL Draft.

In his draft year, the American posted a 1.36 GAA, and a .936 save percentage, with seven shutouts for a 41-15-2 record with the WHL's Everett Silvertips. He then followed it up with another impressive year with a 1.88 GAA, .935 save percentage and nine shutouts to lead the WHL in all three categories. 

His 34 wins were tied for most in the 'Dub and the spectacular season earned him a First-Team All Star nod and a nomination for the WHL's Del Wilson Memorial Trophy as the league's top goaltender, which will be announced on May 18.  

"I can't thank my teammates and coaches enough for their support," Wolf said. "It's crazy how fast time how flown by. I still remember my first year like it was yesterday and the great run to the championship that we had. 

"You don't really know what to expect from your rookie year but I was very fortunate to be given an opportunity after coming back from off-season hip surgery and to learn from Carter Hart who is a tremendous goalie to lean on and get advice from. 

"From that point on, I knew I belonged in the league and our team hasn't skipped a beat since which says a lot about the great players and coaching staff we have."

Standing at 6-foot, and 165-lbs., Wolf has heard the knocks on his size at each stage of his hockey career and knows that he will continue to hear it. 

But with all that, there's no denying his talent - and the Flames couldn't pass up on him.  

 

 

"We got him in a spot in the draft we didn't think we would get him," Flames GM Brad Treliving said Friday. "We feel his athleticism and competiveness are elite qualities. 

"It might not be his size that'll get him to the NHL, but his elite qualities that will. I don't care how big you are, as long as you keep the puck out that's all that matters and that's what he does at an exceptional rate. 

"We always focus on areas of players needing skill and are highly competitive, and that describes him perfectly. He' going to make it or die trying and that's a quality you love to see." 

It's been quite the year for Wolf.

From taking part in his first NHL experience at Flames Development Camp last summer, to playing for his country at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championships, to now being one step closer to playing as a pro. 

"It's crazy how it's almost been one year already," he said. "Now here we are putting pen to paper, it's a moment I've been dreaming of.  

"It's a step in the right direction but there's more work to be done. I'm going to do everything I can to get my shot and hopefully get to the NHL one day. Until then, I'm going to keep working and stay focused and then, hopefully in a couple years I'll be able to put on the Flames jersey on a nightly basis."
 

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