On Thursday the Everett Silvertips held a player signing event that was streamed via Facebook Live and captured on video for the Silvertips website.
Tips announce signing of California G Dustin Wolf pic.twitter.com/aS6w1mBj9i
— Jesse Geleynse (@JesseGeleynse) January 27, 2017
The player was goaltender Dustin Wolf, a well-spoken, California-born, 15-year-old who is presumably the heir apparent to Carter Hart. I’m no goaltending expert, but the fanfare suggests the franchise believes Wolf is the real deal.
I’ve heard Wolf turned down NCAA suitors as well as the USA Hockey National Team Development Program. Throw in the fact he’s an American born-and-bred goalie from a reputable Los Angeles Junior Kings program, and you have yourself a spectacle.
“I think it’s a really big ‘get,’ ” Tips general manager Garry Davidson said. “I think he’s one of the most outstanding goalies of his age in the U.S. … I’m very excited we have him on board, and I really think he will continue to be a prospect for the U.S. (national) teams of the future.”
Players who sign with WHL organizations forfeit their NCAA eligibility, so that’s often a sticking point for American athletes. The USNDTP competes against USHL and NCAA teams while allowing players to retain NCAA eligibility, though Americans who play for WHL teams can still be considered for roster spots at IIHF events.
Ultimately the Tips won out over the USNDTP and the NCAA.
“It is interesting seeing kids commit so early (to college),” Wolf said. “You’re almost jealous a little bit, but you know your time is going to come eventually. Just wait it out and choose the best route, and obviously I’m here in Everett now.”
Wolf figures to battle Dorrin Luding to serve as Hart’s backup next season. Luding is a 17-year-old signed prospect who filled in during Hart’s absence at World Juniors in December and January.
Current back-up Mario Petit has played well in his limited opportunities, but he’ll be 20 next season and the Tips aren’t likely to use an overage slot for a backup goalie. I fully expect Petit to be in the WHL next season, but it’s unlikely to be with Everett.
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