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


  • TradeBrodie

    Kid is a beauty. Coached him in his first year of bantam. Watched him grow and come together as a person and a hockey player. Really like his competitiveness and his work ethic. 4th line center by Christmas time I am thinking. The leadership just oozes from him. Flames got a steal drafting Doobie.

        • Who is Alberta’s team?

          Cmon Walt you can do better than that. I’ll help you out tho with some important stats on determining Alberta’s team. Eskimo grey cup wins 14.
          The Choke Stampeders grey cup wins ….7 ?

          Who is Alberta’s team???

          • Zeb Zadock

            In all fairness Stu even we didn’t speak about the past Edmonton still is better. Which city has hoisted a grey cup last? Edmonton. Which city has hoisted Lord Stanley last? Edmonton. Which team has had the most recent playoff success? Edmonton. The poor flames playoff history is tough/cringeworthy to look at lol I just looked at it on Wikipedia. Yeesh out of the 1st round twice in 30 years!!!! I repeat…. out of the 1st round in 30 years!!!! I’d say Edmonton is Alberta’s team without a doubt. Stats don’t lie.

          • Sven

            When Jim Thorpe played for the Canton Bulldogs in 1916 they went undefeated
            And Princeton was 6-0 in 1878

            but the Bulldogs are now defunct –

            and Princeton only won two Ivy league games last season…..

            so sure –

            the Eskimos were good back in the 1980’s

            and that Gretzky kid could play hockey back in the day

            but circa 2018 –

            The Stampeders are head and shoulders above the Eskimos

            and the Flames will embarrass the oil this year

          • Still no edit button?

            Oilers fans are like your grandpa. They sit around and tell stories about the wondrous things they did way back in their younger years because they can’t do those things anymore.

      • TradeBrodie

        Yah I did. Great program they have out there, way off topic, but sad to see the AMBHL going down hill and the school teams taking over like the edge etc.

  • freethe flames

    This is a kid on the move; he has adjusted well to every level he is asked to play at. He might well push for a spot out of training camp but might be better developed being a leader at the AHL level. At the development camp he clearly stood out from the forwards. His time with the Heat at the end of the season also helped in his preparedness. (this is why you need a good farm team that can make the AHL playoffs so that CHL players can get a taste of pro hockey when there seasons end)

      • Derzie

        He’s ‘new’, how do you know he’s ‘decent’? Because he’s new? Every coach that gets hired has done something worthy of being hired. Let’s see what he does for us before any proclamations. Same applies to the big team.

  • 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.

  • radiomonkey

    A longshot to make the team out of camp, but it seems likely he’ll play NHL games this year. His ceiling is a question mark, but he has the speed and jam to craft out a career in the bigs.

  • Al Rain

    I’m no expert (unlike most on here) and I certainly never coached the kid in Bantam, but it looks to me that Dube is a lock to be an NHL player with a floor of reliable 4C and a ceiling of top 6. We’re all concerning ourselves with when he makes the team but in the longer view, I’d say he’s about 90% certain to be a vital part of the Flames for a decade.

    I see Mangiapane as less of a sure thing, with a slightly higher ceiling (top 6) but because he’ll have to make the team as a goal scorer, a much lower floor. There are many examples of kids that light up the AHL and never break through.

    Dube > Mangiapane

    • Jumping Jack Flash

      I think Dube is going to make the NHL as well but I don’t see him being much more productive than a Lazar. Both were good leaders in Junior and are very tenacious but I worry that his offence will not transpose to the NHL. Mangi seems like more of a pure sniper and he found it difficult to get points in 10 NHL games. I think you need offence from your 4 th line in today’s NHL so I hope he can contribute.

      • Al Rain

        Offense from 4th line is critical, no question. But the 4th line has to be made up of quality players. (And as an aside, I think of that as the biggest cause for optimism this Flames’ season.) I’m not going to gauge Mangiapane’s potential – and by association/comparison Dube’s potential – by 10 games he played last season with whoever we had doing 4th line things.

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          I agree that the bottom 6 is reason for optimism. I was disappointed that they did not throw Mangi a bone and put him with top 6 linemates for a game or on one of the worst PPs….for a change. I honestly believe that if he would have got his first point he would have played with more confidence. I am a big Janko fan but he was not playing his best when Mangi was on his line.

          Like I have said in another post, I think Janko is wasted on the 4 th line but if he is flanked by Mangi and Czarnik that could be exciting.

  • Azim

    Dube is legit. One of those high-floor players with strong hockey IQ and versatility that almost guarantees a career as a regular-rotation player in the NHL. I think he dabbles in a few games this year with the Flames, and blows the doors off for 2019-20.

  • 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.

  • MDG1600

    I really like what I have seen out of this kid – he has a great motor and can be relentless on the forecheck. He really appears to use his speed to create chances. All that being said I think the best thing for him and the Flames is that he play a year in the Stockton with quality ice time and hopefully lots of points. I want to see his offence nurtured and not killed by playing 8 minutes a night in Calgary and then losing his confidence because he is finding it hard to score. If he lights it up in the AHL he might be the perfect call up for the stretch run or playoffs.

    • everton fc

      Absolutely agree. And I also think Klimchuk will surprise us all, at some point. Seems a consistent, two-way player, like Dube – though Dube’s at a higher level.

      • freethe flames

        Depending on how BP puts his lines together I see the top Offensive line and the top Defensive line each playing between 14-15 minutes a night 5 on 5 and the secondary lines getting 11 minutes a night 5 on 5. The rest of the minutes will be earned on special teams. It’s pretty exciting to think we have the depth to pull this off.

  • freethe flames

    I think he pushes for a spot during camp but unless he dominates in the preseason; what is best for him and the team; being a star in the AHL and getting lots of minutes or being a depth forward here where he may be in and out of the line up.

  • kipper2004

    Dube is thankfully the second round steal that Calgary needed just like Raz. Based on preseason viewings and his WJC play he is the best forward prospect for Calgary hands down. I feel if Dube steps up and eventually takes a 3rd line role I could see Benny being traded unless the 2 can create some chemistry and bring Benny out of his funk! Wishful thinking I guess…

  • 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!

  • Trevy

    As good of a player he is, you don’t really want to rush him considering he just had a cup of coffee in the pros. Let him work in the AHL and establish himself consistency before graduating up to the parent club. Foo and/or Mange should be considered front runners

  • MDG1600

    Random topic change – When do we get to have some actual game performance to talk about? I know Calgary isn’t going to Penticton Young Stars this year but I thought I heard something about a couple of Flames/Oilers young stars or prospects tourney in advance of main camp. Google search didn’t show anything – does anyone know if this is happening? As exciting as it is to talk prospects it we be better once we have some game performance to talk about.

    • mrroonie

      It’s Sept. 12th in Red Deer. According to Tickets Alberta the game is already sold out. It was posted on the Oilers website on June 25th but I can’t find it anywhere on the Flames site. Tickets went on sale July 30th.