Hot Talk: Where Dustin Wolf fits in Flames goalie picture
‘Wolf is as impressive to me as any goalie prospect in the last decade based on his athleticism and his anticipation. I’d bet he’ll be a stud in the NHL. But there’s no sense hurrying him with a team that has so many other holes right now.’
Craig Ellingson: If I was the GM of the Calgary Flames (maybe I should apply… hmmmmm…) I would start thinking about trading Dan Vladar.
It appears Dustin Wolf is more than ready for the NHL. Put him in a tandem with Jacob Markstrom. I dunno. Vladar’s a pretty good 1B. He’d be worth something decent in return, I’d wager. Third round pick? What do you think?
Steve Macfarlane: Well, they need someone young and innovative, so you’ve got one of those things going for you …
Vladar is a great backup, but he’s a really interesting case. His two-year extension is worth $4.4M and kicks in next year, which would be attractive to many teams looking for a platoon or solid backup.
I’m not sold on him as a starter yet — he seemed to wear down over time in stretches aside from that one hot streak this year — but Wolf is biting at his heels so something has to give.
Craig: As much as a team would want to give Wolf NHL minutes as soon as possible, Vladar is still a decent backup/1B. Obviously, Treliving signed him to that contract extension for a reason.
Would there be any harm in having Wolf patrol the Wranglers’ net again to start 2023-24? Having options in net is a nice thing to have.
I suppose we know exactly what we have in Vladar at this point. Wolf, though, is looking like the future starter. It’s just a question of when considering they’ve got Markstrom locked up on a big contract for a few seasons yet.
The Markstrom vs. Wolf question could be a column for another day, but it’s something the Flames brain trust must have in the backs of their minds right now. Like what if Wolf somehow gains the net at some point next year — if, say, one of Markstrom or Vladar was injured, or if someone is playing poorly — and then it’s hard to take him away from it if he’s playing lights out?
Steve: I think it’s a decision that can at least be postponed until closer to the trade deadline.
Wolf is as impressive to me as any goalie prospect in the last decade based on his athleticism and his anticipation. I’d bet he’ll be a stud in the NHL. But there’s no sense hurrying him with a team that has so many other holes right now.
They could carry three goalies early in the year if he warrants a longer look out of camp. Build his confidence slowly, like the Panthers were doing with Spencer Knight. Let it happen organically.
And when it does, if it happens this year, maybe Markstrom had the most value on the market if he gets off to a better start next season and shows this year was the anomaly and not the Vezina year.
Craig: All the more reason for/pressure on the Flames to not let their search for the next GM to drag on. It’s two months until the NHL Draft, after all.
Steve: I know it seems like we were just talking about that whole Sutter/new GM situation but it is a real key to the big picture here right now. Some massive decisions to make on the contract side of things. Even if the direction from ownership remains win at all costs.
Craig: Moving Markstrom could be a little more difficult because he has a no-movement clause in his contract, correct?
Steve: He does. And combined with probably a really small percentage of teams that would be interested it definitely makes it a bit challenging.
But I can’t think of many cases where a player doesn’t waive it when he’s not wanted — aside from the unicorn Kiprusoff. Even Nazem Kadri relented after turning down a Flames deal then winding up with the Avalanche.