I like to play physical and to play strong and to get in the faces of other guys but I like scoring goals and making plays. I think I’m a guy like that, I would say. - David Wolf
CALGARY, AB -- David Wolf isn’t sure if there’s a direct German translation for truculent.
Still, the 24-year-old is hoping to bring a little bit of it -- and more -- to the Calgary Flames.
“I think I am," said Wolf, who signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Flames on Monday. "I think I changed my game more from when I was young until now. I think I play physical, but I can score goals and make plays, too. I like to play physical and to play strong and to get in the faces of other guys but I like scoring goals and making plays.
"I think I’m a guy like that, I would say.”
Needless to say, the 6-foot-2, 216-pound left winger fits the definition well.
Wolf blended 14 goals and 40 points with a German League-leading 152 minutes in penalties in 48 games with the Hamburg Freezers.
It’s also no coincidence he lands on a team with Brian Burke atop the hockey operations department. After all, Wolf was in development camp as a free agent invite with the then Burke-led Toronto Maple Leafs two summers ago.
“I actually met him once,” Wolf said. “I think it was the last day of the camp and I just thanked him for inviting me. I appreciated that I was invited to the camp.
“It’s crazy. A lot of people have asked me already about being in camp when Burke was there and maybe he saw me there. I don’t know what happened but I met him and I think he’s a really, really big hockey person in Canada and the world. Everybody respects him really well. I’m pumped to play for a legend. I’m pumped for that, for sure.”
But it’s not a given that Wolf, who has represented Germany 20 times internationally, will make the difficult jump from the DEL to the NHL.
Wolf believes he’s the next to.
“I think I can make it, definitely,” he said. “I will have a good summer this year. I will work out a lot and hard. I will come there and I’ll try to make the team right away. That’s my point. I’m not the youngest anymore, I would say, so I have to give it a try. I’d love to give it a try. That’s why I’m coming to Calgary. My point is to make the NHL.
“I’m really excited. I mean it’s a dream come true for every kid, I think, especially when you’re from Europe. I’m just so happy that everything has happened like this for me. It’s a really big step for me, too. I’m pumped up and I look forward to playing.”
Calgary wasn’t Wolf’s only option to earn his first contract and first chance to crack an NHL roster.
The Flames were his choice, though.
Courted by “two or three” other teams, Wolf settled on Calgary after some advice from father and longtime German League standout Manfred ‘Mannix’ Wolf.
“I talked to my dad about everything,” he said. “It doesn’t matter which contract or whether it’s in Germany or now North America, I talk to my dad every time. He’s had enough experience that I can talk to him and he can help me a lot of times, too.
“We sat together and talked about it. When we came to decide, he said that it had to be about what I wanted. We talked about everything, but my heart was beating right away for Calgary. That’s why I decided to come.
“In Europe, it’s not often that some people from North America come over and watch games or watch guys and how they play. For me, it was an honour that they saw me and talked to me and I think Calgary was really straight to me.
"That’s why I decided to come to Calgary.”