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).
Dillon Dube and The Brows with another solid scoring chance … his first goal is coming soon, we can feel it.#COLvsCGY
— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) November 2, 2018
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.”
— Sportsnet 960 (@Sportsnet960) November 2, 2018
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.”