17Dillon Dube
Photo Credit: Sergei Belski/USA Today Sports

Dillon Dube continues hunt for first NHL goal

Through 14 National Hockey League appearances, Calgary Flames rookie Dillon Dube has emerged as a steady presence on the team’s bottom six. He’s used in key situations and has gotten work on both sides of special teams. The only thing he hasn’t done yet is score.

Hours before Saturday night’s contest between the Flames and the visiting Chicago Blackhawks, Dube sat in his locker room stall and soaked in the crowded room. Assigned to the stall closest to the door – the spot the rookies usually get – it’s the lowest he’s been on a team’s totem pole in years.

Yet when speaking to Dube about his season thus far – a chat prior to his injury-shortened outing against the Blackhawks – you get the distinct impression that there’s nowhere else he would rather be.

A product of nearby Cochrane, he’s seen games in the Saddledome as a fan, as a member of the Western Hockey League’s Kelowna Rockets, and more recently as a Flame. During his time with the Flames he’s generated several scoring chances: Natural Stat Trick credits him with 12 high-danger scoring chances, tied with Sean Monahan for sixth on the team (and Monahan plays twice as much).

Dube credited the play of his entire line for the chances he’s been getting to score.

“I think the O-zone time that you create, you’re gonna get chances,” said Dube. “With [Derek Ryan] and [Garnet Hathaway], those are the guys I’ve been playing with lately, I think the first couple games we were having a tough time getting it off the wall. We were just kind of grinding the whole time. I think now we’re starting to get more comfortable with each other, and getting off the wall, rolling towards the net. I think that shows the opportunities we’re getting.”

One of the big knocks on the 2017-18 Flames was the lack of offensive contributions from their bottom six forwards. Between injuries and inconsistency, the team churned through several different third and fourth line units that weren’t able to spend much time in the offensive zone. While Dube acknowledged that his energy role is a little different than his top six role last season in Kelowna, he noted that providing offense is still a goal.

“I think it’s still creating chances,” said Dube. “Yeah, I have the role, I know how I got to play, but it’s not effecting the way I want to come in here and score goals for this team, because I know at one point I’m going to do that because I’m getting the chances. It’s just that the point of the play of being able to bear down and having the confidence to do it because you want that first one so bad that you almost fumble it a little bit extra because you want to bury it through the back of the net.”

Dube admitted a bit of frustration, but also noted that his line is playing well and they’re focused on creating momentum for the team. As the chances keep piling up, it seems inevitable that sooner or later the red goal light will finally go on for him.

“When you’re not scoring sometimes you want to change stuff,” said Dube. “But I’m pretty happy with the way it’s been going and happy just to be playing night in and night out and I want to keep that going.”

  • Hockeysense9393

    You know, I’m gonna post a thought on this kids (Dube’s) story, because I believe it kind of goes hand in hand. I think it’s safe to say that Dube just may be the heir apparent for Backlund…some day…
    For Dube to come in so young and learn the right way from a player closest to his style probably. A player to teach him how to play the right way as a shut down center with some offensive upside.

    • Hockeysense9393

      Individually, Backlund leads the Flames with a SAT% of 61.8% (shot attempts for, as opposed to against). The 15th best player in the league, with the top player at 66.6%. This (obvious) stat shows just how good a two-way player Backlund really is for this team, every year. A lot of us understand this about his game. Now maybe posters like WW and the kind will appreciate a 10 point in 15 game +8 start to the season to go along with driving the play all the time?
      You know how many different personalities this guy has had to play with this season, and still master the middle of the ice. 2nd-3rd line whatever you want to call it. PP, PK, last minute of a game…?
      Whatever you need.

      Sure he’s not a Bergeron or Kopitar, but that’s why “they” are always the ones compared with. Top 10 two-way Center in the league? What we see so far this year, shows just that. I could be wrong, but I can’t seem to see any signs of him slowing down either.

      Some of you criticize Backlund (WW) which is fine, but you should also be man enough to give due when deserved as well.

      Just my thoughts … 🔥

      • withachance

        100% agree. All of the flak that Backlund gets is stemmed from perception of the fan. Some seem to think being a 2C means he should be offensive, when that is definitely not a prerequisite for a good second C on a team. He is the best defensive forward on this team, full stop. Backs + Fro combines for such a great shutdown, cerebral pair. He is without a doubt a top 10 defensive C in the league, and I’d say paying 5.35M a year for that is a pretty good price.

        As for WW, his extreme bias an prejudice towards certain players on this team makes his opinions really not relevant to be taken as serious thoughts anymore. Disappears when Backs does well and has multi point nights while shutting down league’s best lines, comes out of his hole when he does anything wrong.

      • Hockeysense9393

        …and that’s my newest Jersey.
        6 more years baby!!

        Should be a safe number to keep, I would think.

        Past examples:
        Vernon … traded following year
        Fluery … traded following year
        Phaneuf … traded same year
        Iginla … traded same year
        (well one of a few jerseys)

        The last 2 jerseys I acquired have been kept nameless, because they are supposed to be Bennett. (And last years will probably be Jagr…but)

        Backlund should be safe…lol…

      • Brian McGrattan's Salute

        Wonderful. Backlund is incredible. And, he’s currently on pace for 54-55 points this season. With Chucky exploding in points, and Nealers now up there, I can see him getting there.

        I’m really gunning for him, because he deserves it. Plus maybe if he gets a 55 point season some of the folk who have an illogical hate on for him will keep their pie holes shut on the matter a little more. I would think if Backs gets 55 this season, in addition to his other plethora of non offensive skills, his contract is a steal.