Silvertips goaltender Dustin Wolf deflects a shot during a game against Tri-City on Jan. 26, 2020, in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Silvertips goaltender Dustin Wolf deflects a shot during a game against Tri-City on Jan. 26, 2020, in Everett. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Silvertips notebook: Wolf named WHL’s top goaltender again

Plus, Everett promotes head scout Mike Fraser to director of player personnel

EVERETT — The Everett Silvertips’ monopoly of the Del Wilson Trophy continues.

The WHL announced the winner of the Del Wilson Trophy as the league’s Goaltender of the Year on Wednesday, and Everett goalie Dustin Wolf received the honor for the second straight year.

Between Wolf and his predecessor, Carter Hart, the Tips have claimed the Del Wilson Trophy in five of the past six seasons.

Wolf, a native of Gilroy, California, whose family relocated to Lake Stevens during his WHL career, just completed his 19-year-old season. In the coronavirus pandemic-shortened 2020-21 campaign he led the league in wins (18-3-0-0), tied for the league lead in shutouts (four), and was second in both goals-against average (1.80) and save percentage (.940). He helped lead the Tips to the U.S. Division championship and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player.

Wolf’s numbers were even better than his 2019-20 season, when he was 34-10-2-0 with. 1.88 goals-against average, .935 save percentage and nine shutouts en route to being named the top goaltender in the entire Canadian Hockey League.

“A player who competes every day and never lets up on his approach tends to discover incredible rewards for his effort, and it’s well deserved to see him earn the Del Wilson Memorial Trophy for the second consecutive year as WHL Goaltender of the Year,” Everett coach and interim general manager Dennis Williams said in a press release. “Dustin is simply focused and driven on being the best — every practice and every game.”

Unlike last season, when he was the runaway choice for Goaltender of the Year, Wolf faced stiff competition this year. Edmonton’s Sebastian Cossa went 17-1-0-1 with a 1.57 goals-against average, .941 save percentage and four shutouts, and he’s also ranked by NHL Central Scouting as the No. 1 North American goaltender for this year’s NHL draft. Yet Wolf was still deemed the league’s best.

“Milestones like these are what you set out to accomplish each and every year and it’s my job to be the best out there, every game and every year,” Wolf said in the press release. “With that mentality in mind, it’s an honor to accept the Del Wilson Trophy for the second straight year. Over my four-year span in Everett, I’ve been fortunate for the time early on to work along a former teammate like Carter Hart and use that to my advantage when the workload increased. He’s had success in the NHL and it’s my mission to follow in those footsteps. Some games are easier and harder than others — and I wouldn’t be receiving this without the hard work of my teammates and coaching staff. I am incredibly grateful for them.”

Wolf’s Silvertips career is likely complete. Players officially graduate from the WHL following their 19-year-old seasons, and while Wolf is eligible to return next season as an overager, he’s signed a contract with the NHL’s Calgary Flames, who selected him in the seventh round of the 2019 NHL draft. Therefore, he’s expected to play professionally in the minors next season.

Head scout Fraser promoted

The Silvertips announced Wednesday evening that head scout Mike Fraser was promoted to the team’s director of player personnel.

Fraser was named Everett’s head scout in 2018 after previously working for six seasons as a scout with the Brandon Wheat Kings.

“In his three seasons as head scout, Mike has gained valuable experience suitable for a new opportunity in our hockey operations department,” Silvertips chief operating officer Zoran Rajcic said in a press release. “His judgement is respected, he has a great eye for talent, and worked with tireless commitment to finding the next wave of future Silvertips, some who have already begun making an impact on our roster. As we identified his promotion as a critical piece of success, his contributions to fortifying our depth chart, preparing for the WHL Draft, and more will be extremely valuable as we move ahead with shaping our future.”

Fraser takes over for Alvin Backus, who was named the team’s director of player personnel in 2018. Backus is no longer with the organization.

The change continues Everett’s re-shuffling of its hockey operations department due to financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Longtime successful general manager Garry Davidson did not have his contract renewed last month and head coach Dennis Williams was named interim general manager.

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