Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2019 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at goaltender Dustin Wolf.
Following a legend is never easy. That was the situation for Dustin Wolf this season. The Everett Silvertips new starting goaltender was taking over from Carter Hart, who had been the WHL goaltender of the year for three straight seasons and CHL goaltender of the year in two of those three years. Wolf proved to be up to the task. In 61 games this season, he put up a 41-15-2 record, with a 1.69 goals-against-average, a .936 save percentage, and seven shutouts. He also added a 5-5 record, 2.02 goals-against-average, .914 save percentage and one shutout in the playoffs. Wolf was named to the Western Conference first all-star team as well as winning the WHL and CHL Scholastic Player of the Year awards. He led the league in goals-against-average and save percentage.
Wolf, a Tustin, California native, played for his country at the 2018 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup. He put up a 2.65 goals-against-average and .909 save percentage in three tournament games. The American team finished fourth in the tournament.
Dustin Wolf Scouting Report
Goalie — shoots Left — catches Left
Born April 16th, 2001 — Tustin, California
Height 6’0″ — Weight 161 lbs [183 cm/73 kg]
Skating and Talent Analysis
Wolf has a strong technique. He comes out of the net and challenges shooters. At just 6’0″, Wolf is small compared to what teams are looking for in a modern goaltender, but his ability to get to the top of the crease helps him to take up as much space as possible. His quick reflexes and strong legs take away the bottom of the net. Wolf also tracks the puck well and moves side-to-side exceptionally quick. He also gets in and out of the butterfly well, getting up and down quickly.
He is very athletic and can make incredible saves at times. A quick glove hand takes away the top of the net, while he also uses his blocker effectively. His rebound control is advanced for his age, though like most young goaltenders it can continue to improve. He keeps his body square to the shooter. This is true even when he gives up a rebound, as he is always in the right position to minimize the amount of net the opponent can see and make the next save.
Wolf is also strong handling the puck. He can act as a third defenceman, starting the breakout and transition for the team. He even makes the long pass if the opposing team gets caught on a line change. Wolf also uses his stick to poke check opponents and make saves that way.
Wolf is a leader for the Silvertips. It is obvious that the defence looks to him as a leader, just as they did with Hart last season. He is calm and cool, even when facing heavy traffic. Wolf also understands when to keep the play going by playing the puck to his defencemen and starting the breakup as well as when his team is under pressure and needs to get a whistle.
Projection and Comparison
Goaltenders take time to develop and Wolf should be no different. Expect him to spend the next two years in the WHL before spending a few years in the AHL. While his size is not ideal, he has every other skill that a team is looking for in a young goaltender. He has already shown a strong mentality and the ability to succeed in a high-pressure situation after succeeding Hart in Everett. If he develops properly, Wolf could become a franchise-level goaltender in the NHL. His game is reminiscent of Marty Turco. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Dustin Wolf that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Embed from Getty Images
EVERETT, WA – FEBRUARY 14: Everett Silvertips goaltender Dustin Wolf (32) makes a chest save on Red Deer Rebels forward Brandon Hagel (22) during a game between the Everett Silvertips and the Red Deer Rebels on Thursday, February 14, 2019, at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, WA. (Photo by Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)