FlamesNation Top 20 Prospects 2018: #4 Dillon Dube

The Calgary Flames don’t have a rich history of drafting, especially after the first round, but recently they’ve made several high ceiling picks, including Dillon Dube in 2016. An unassuming, sub-6′ forward out of Kelowna in the WHL, Dube has quickly risen to the top of the Flames’ prospect depth chart after an impressive junior career, capped with a gold medal captaining Canada’s team at the World Junior Championship.

Last year, Dube was one of the last cuts at training camp and surprised many with his solid play alongside Tanner Glass and Ryan Lomberg in the preseason. With another successful WHL season under his belt and a handful of AHL games, this could be the year for Dube to push for a full time spot with the Flames. He jumps from #8 in last year’s rankings to #4 this year.

How did we get here?

All Dube has done throughout his hockey career is win. His trophy cabinet, conveniently located in his childhood home in Cochrane, holds a vast collection of awards and accolades.

He began his junior hockey career in 2013 when he was selected in the first round of the WHL bantam draft by the Kelowna Rockets. In his rookie year, he scored 27 points over 45 games, and 11 in 18 playoff games en route to a Memorial Cup championship. In his draft year, he upped his scoring to just over a point per game clip with 66 points in 65 games. This was good for 44th in WHL scoring , but his rapid scoring progression and solid two-way play for the Rockets prompted the Flames to draft him 56th overall in 2016.

At this point, Dube was a highly touted prospect and considered a potential steal for the Flames in the second round. Unfortunately, his 2016-17 season began with a lower body injury that kept him out for the first two months of the Rockets’ season. Still, he remained on Hockey Canada’s radar and was invited to Canada’s WJC camp. It surprised some that Dube was selected to represent Canada at the 2016 World Juniors, but despite playing a bottom six role on a very good Canadian team, he was an impactful player and won a silver medal in his first major international tournament. In the WHL, Dube was first on the team in points per game with 55 over 40 games.

Last year, Dube exploded for 84 points in 53 games for Kelowna, good for ninth overall in points per game. Internationally, Dube was again selected to represent Canada at the WJC, this time as captain. He guided Canada to a gold medal and was one of the team’s most dominant players throughout the tournament. After Kelowna was eliminated in the WHL playoffs by the Tri-City Americans and fellow Flames prospect Juuso Valimaki, Dube played six games for the Stockton Heat.

Dube finished his WHL career with 232 points in 203 games.

Stats, numbers, and everything therein

The 2017-18 season was Dube’s third full campaign in the WHL. He was second in scoring for the Rockets. He also played for Canada at the WJC on the international stage, as well as for Stockton at the end of the AHL season.

League Games played Goals Assists Points Shots
WHL 53 38 46 84 235
AHL 6 0 4 4 0

In his first taste of pro hockey, Dube was excellent in his six games for the Heat, albeit in a limited role. He adapted to the faster pace of the AHL at a time when the Heat were fighting for a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs and seemed comfortable playing against older, more experienced players.

For a deeper dive into Dube’s numbers, revisit Christian Tiberi’s writeup here.

Those in the know

Andy Eide, WHL beat writer 710 ESPN Seattle, is no stranger to watching Dube play:

Dube has always been a great two-way center and this year the offensive side of his game blew up. Despite only playing in 53 games with the Kelowna Rockets, he set career highs in goals (38), assists (46), and points (84). He manned the top line for the Rockets and was part of Canada’s gold medal-winning World Junior team this January. The season ended with him a plus-17 and he was solid at the dot, winning 54% of the faceoffs he took.

Larry Fisher, who covers the Rockets for the Kelowna Daily Courier and The Hockey Writers WHL, commented on Dube’s skillset:

Dube’s smooth skating remains his biggest strength, along with his hockey sense, but his shot — both in terms of accuracy and release — is also becoming NHL calibre. He’s going to be a solid pro for Calgary thanks to his versatility as a 200-foot player and his ability to play up and down the depth chart, on any of the four lines as either a centre or a winger.

If there is a knock on Dube coming out of junior, it’s that he can be a bit too individualistic at times and needs to better utilize his teammates, but that should be a natural progression in the AHL and/or the NHL.

On the horizon

The 2018-19 season should be the most exciting in Dube’s career to date. He was only drafted two years ago, but has a legitimate shot at making the NHL. With the Flames buying out Troy Brouwer and not retaining Matt Stajan, there is a spot open for Dube in Calgary’s bottom six. He was impressive in training camp last year and if he can take another step forward, he might force Brad Treliving to keep him around a bit longer this year.

That being said, he’ll be competing with players like Andrew Mangiapane, Austin Czarnik, and Spencer Foo for that NHL job, so he does have his work cut out for him. With Dube’s work ethic and commitment to getting better each year, it is very possible that he edges out these players and at least earns himself his NHL debut.

More likely, however, is that Dube spends the 2018-19 campaign in the AHL with Stockton. He might get a few games in the NHL via call-ups but the Flames probably want him to hone his skills in the minors and become comfortable with the professional game. Dube doesn’t require waivers so the Flames likely stash him in the AHL unless he absolutely knocks down the door.

Dube might not be penciled into the NHL roster just yet, but he sure looks like he has the tools to be a solid contributor at the highest level. He is very much in control of his own destiny and his name is definitely one to watch out for in training camp and the preseason.

#20 – Martin Pospisil #19 – Demetrios Koumontzis
#18 – Emilio Pettersen #17 – Filip Sveningsson
#16 – Milos Roman #15 – Dmitry Zavgorodniy
#14 – D’Artagnan Joly #13 – Adam Ruzicka
#12 – Linus Lindstrom #11 – Glenn Gawdin
#10 – Morgan Klimchuk #9 – Jon Gillies
#8 – Tyler Parsons #7 – Matthew Phillips
#6 – Spencer Foo #5 – Oliver Kylington


  • Jobu

    Jobu is most excited about Dube. Another player that can get under the oppositions skin, with speed and skill to boot.

    This kid will be great centering Tkachuk someday.

  • Sven

    I have to admit I used to see him and Mangiapane as almost interchangeable

    based on last years numbers their NHLe is quite similar
    (Dube – 40 vs Mangiapane 45)

    but given that Dube is two years younger-

    and given that Mangiapane had no points in 88 minutes of NHL ice time last season with a game score of 0.34

    and given that Dube captained Canada in the U20 in Buffalo

    I have to think his upside is greater than Mangiapane –

  • Just.Visiting

    We’re entering our window to be a serious contender, so we need to balance development and winning appropriately.

    I thought he looked great at last year’s camp and that, on merit, was good enough to start the season for at least the test drive period.

    I’d give him every opportunity to earn a spot this year because of his 200 foot game, notwithstanding that he’ll have a greater transition on the offensive side of things.

    While this would probably mean that he starts on the fourth line, I could see him getting PK time and playing up as required due to injuries, etc. I could also potentially seeing him making Frolik expendable.

    Surprised that he’s below Mangi, as Dube seems like a more certain bet for a Backlund type role.

    • freethe flames

      Let’s not forget that these are not rankings of ceilings but in relationship to being able to win the Calder this year. What I’m assuming is that they think Mangiapane has a better chance of making the big club this and therefore a chance however slim at winning the Calder. Dube is likely a year away from playing enough NHL games. Both Dube and Valimaki may have higher ceilings than Andersson and Mangiapane but both Mangiapane have significant AHL and some NHL exposure and should be more NHL ready this year. So it would not surprise me in the least that Valimaki is number 3 and not Mangiapane. What worries me is somehow we don’t allow both Dube and Valimaki miss a step in their development and get stuck like Lazar seems to be.

  • everton fc

    Dube – yet another great two-way centre, who can play wing. When contracts like Frolik’s expire… Dube will fit in nicely. But I don’t see him making the team this year, unless one of Lazar/Hathaway is cut. This would also mean Mangiapane/Klimchuk/Foo, don’t make the team, and Dube plays one of the wings, on the 4th line, with Jankowski.

  • Off the wall

    Off topic a bit, but are the Vancouver Island boys getting together for a game or what?
    Thanks for bringing that up Raffy.
    No meeting at bridges..

    How about Saturday October 6, Vancouver vs Calgary. It’s the 2nd game of the season?
    (Duncan) for all those living up Island.

    Who’s in? And anyone have a suggestion for a decent sports bar in Duncan?

      • Off the wall

        Cool. Sorry I forgot about you Johnny! Must be getting old.
        I’m sure I missed others as well.

        And WW, that’s great your wife let’s you travel. Duncan isn’t pretty, but it’ll have to do, as it’s most Central for everyone.

    • Cfan in Van

      I’d try the Craig Street Brew Pub. Good beer and good food. Not a sports bar, per say, but I watched some of the WJC there last year, and it was nice. I’d be a good idea to clear whether they’d put the game on for you guys first (availability/local preference). Next on the list would be BP, for a good chance to see the game, but worse beer/food choices. FYI, if your looking for the best take-away beer selection on the Island, the Liquor Plus right by the damned bridge is the cats ass.

      • Off the wall

        Perfect. Thanks Cfan in Van. I’ll check with the Craig Street Brew Pub.

        There’s always room for more, should you be the mood to get away from North Van. ?

        • Cfan in Van

          I appreciate the invite. If I’m going to be over that way, I’ll make a point to touch base (I’m usually at the in-laws cabin on Cowichan River when I come to the Island). That said, I try to limit my Island travel to A) Family Obligations, and B) Mini-holidays with my better half (Cumberland or Cowichan). The ferries are total weekend and wallet killers, now that I’m on the mainland.

          • Off the wall

            Hey Cfan in Van, Stocktons Finest is going to be in Vancouver on February 9, 2019 for the game against Calgary. I’m going as well. It’s a late game, so it will be an overnighter for me.

            Do you think you and your better half might be able to join us?
            I’m not sure who all lives in Vancouver? I think The Fall does as well. I hope he can make too.

            Maybe we can show a little hospitality to our good friend in Stockton!

  • Off the wall

    If anyone from Vancouver Island would like to take in a game together in Duncan Saturday October 6 @ 6:00pm please let me know.
    I’ll coordinate the place to watch the game together. If you have suggestions, please let me know.
    You can email me —[email protected] com

    I don’t want to tie up this blog..
    Sound fair?

    Make sure you use your username on FN, otherwise I won’t know who the heck you are!