I think he’s definitely one of the best German players we have so far. In my opinion, he’s made for the NHL. It’s going to be a little bit of a transition for him, but I think he’s going to be an NHL player one day. I think he’s going to do well. - David Wolf
TORONTO, ON -- David Wolf has a fan in Leon Draisaitl.
Draisaitl heaped high praise on Wolf, signed from the Hamburg Freezers of the German League (DEL) by the Calgary Flames in mid-May.
“He’s a top guy,” said Draisaitl, fourth among North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final ranking and a consensus top pick for the 2014 NHL Draft. “I think he’s definitely one of the best German players we have so far. In my opinion, he’s made for the NHL. It’s going to be a little bit of a transition for him, but I think he’s going to be an NHL player one day. I think he’s going to do well.
“He’s strong, he’s physical, he’s tough, but at the same time, he can play hockey. He’s a guy who could make an impact in the NHL and he’ll be a good player.”
Wolf will try to be just that when he comes to North America in the summer. He’ll make the trek to Calgary in an attempt to kick-start his National Hockey League career.
Draisaitl figures Wolf will be a great match for the Flames.
“The problem is he’s so much bigger than anyone else (in Germany),” he said. “He’s so much stronger than pretty much everyone in his league. He’s big, strong, and physical. He’s a little bit feared in the German league, but not in a bad way.
“If you have a guy like him on your team, it’d be a great fit.”
Draisaitl and Wolf share a distinct connection -- their birth certificate. The 24-year-old Wolf is a native of Dusseldorf, Germany. Draisaitl, 18, was born in Cologne.
But with six years between them, their projected paths to the NHL couldn’t be further apart.
Prior to signing with the Flames, Wolf had yet to leave the German ranks and spent the 2013-14 season with the Hamburg Freezers. In 48 games this season, the 6-foot-2, 216-pound left-winger netted 14 goals and 26 assists for 40 points and had a plus-14 rating. The 6-foot-1.5, 204-pound Draisaitl has spent the past two seasons with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League. The centre had 38 goals and 105 points in 64 games through his draft season.
The two do share one similarity, though. They’ve both often represented Germany in international action.
Wolf has represented Germany at the World Under-18’s, World Junior Championship and in Olympic qualifying. Draisaitl too has skated at the Under-18’s, World Juniors and competed in his first World Championship for Germany last month.
And though they’ve never been teammates at any event, they have crossed paths.
“I did get to meet him,” Draisaitl said. “I played a little bit of street hockey a couple years back with him. He played in Mannheim as well where I played. He was there working out with us one summer, about four years ago maybe. I remember that.
“We had a day off and we played some street hockey.”
And it’s made Draisaitl a fan of Wolf.