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FlamesNation prospect wrap-up: Dillon Dube

The Calgary Flames have built their forward lines primarily through the first round. But 2016 second round pick Dillon Dube may have something to say about that.

When we last checked in

Looking to build off of an injury ravaged draft + 1 season, Dube made the most of his final WHL season, becoming the focal point of the Kelowna Rockets. He was also trusted to do the same for Team Canada at the World Juniors, captaining the country to a gold medal. Really, the only low point was a disappointing playoff exit, but that criticism can apply to the entire Rockets team.

His season was so good that it raised a question rarely asked of Flames’ CHL prospects: could he make the NHL team next season?

2018-19 story

Good news: he did!

Bad news: it didn’t go very well. His first shift seemed to sum up his entire 2018-19 NHL experience, as he got rocked by Vancouver’s Erik Gudbranson at centre ice during his first skate. A few games later, he left a game after blocking a Roman Josi shot. A month after that, he lasted 14 seconds before Duncan Keith slammed him into the boards, putting Dube in concussion protocol.

Dube was sent down in early January. Partially because the NHL wasn’t too kind to him, but he also struggled to earn the coach’s trust, usually playing around 10-12 minutes per night. Towards the end of his NHL stint, he was frequently seeing less than nine minutes per night. He didn’t really make any impact one way or the other, and it was hard to justify him playing up the lineup when he couldn’t get much going in the bottom six. Everyone agreed that he would benefit from the minor leagues.

In the AHL, he immediately stepped in and became a contributor to a desperate Heat team. Whether it was the greater opportunity or the weaker opposition, Dube ran roughshod over the AHL during his half-ish season there, winning the AHL’s player of the week in early March for an inspired seven point performance over three games, and won the Stockton Heat’s team award for Rookie of the Year.

Dube returned to the NHL for the season finale and didn’t see any playoff action.

Numbers & Growth

League GP G A P Primary points 5v5 points 5v5 primary points NHLe
2018-19 AHL 37 15 24 39 28 23 17 42.01
2018-19 NHL 25 1 4 5 1 5 1 n/a
2017-18 WHL 53 38 46 84 65 47 39 37.69

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Well the numbers kind of say it all: he’s good.

Dube did a pretty rare thing, carrying over his production from the WHL to the AHL, at least by NHLe terms. Generally, prospects see a decrease in numbers when they move from junior to the pros; Andrew Mangiapane and Matthew Phillips went from 100 point superstars to mere mortals when they made the jump, for example. It’s a lot easier to rack up points against 16-19 year olds in junior than it is against 20-25 (or older) pro-seasoned players. Dube didn’t, a testament to just how well he adapted to the next level of hockey. His ability to generate primary points and 5v5 points also carried over, which is a strong indicator of where he’s going in the future.

His impact on the Heat can’t be understated either. Dube recorded points on 30% of goals, both at 5v5 and all situations. That lead the entire team, even beating out team leader Alan Quine by a percentage point. The only other prospect who came close to Dube in that department was Oliver Kylington at 22% (maybe a sad reflection of the Heat).

The only thing lacking is his NHL time, where he was mostly reduced to an afterthought. Dube finished the season with the worst possession stats on the Flames, a 46.31CF% at 5v5, and was frequently found sitting on the bench when games were tight. He didn’t do that much out there, and accordingly wasn’t trusted with tougher assignments.

And that’s fine. Dube may not have been as ready as people thought he was in the preseason, but his AHL performances suggest that he’s very close to actually hitting that next level.

Comparisons

If history is any indication, we can expect Dube to have a solid NHL career.

Since 2005-06, only 23 players have scored at the same rate as Dube as 20 year olds in the AHL. Of those 23, 20 made the NHL, a rate of 86.96%. The list of players with similar production ranges from Claude Giroux to Markus Granlund, so there’s a pretty wide range of what those players turn out to be, but on average, they were good to score about 0.56 points per game, or about 45 points per 82 games.

What’s next?

You can pencil Dube in for an NHL spot next season. It’s hard to see what good another season of AHL hockey will do for him, and with most of the prospect competition far behind him, an NHL spot is his for the taking.

I think he’ll start on the fourth line to begin the year, at the very least. Where he goes from there is anyone’s guess. He might spend a year with the grinders, learning about the NHL from the most sheltered spot to do so. Maybe he does emerge as a middle six winger option that can play special teams. There’s still a lot of potential in him and it’s exciting to see what he can do with it.

Whatever happens with Dube next season, you can likely bet that he’s going to be a permanent fixture in the Flames lineup for this season and many to come.

Previously

Matthew Phillips | Tyler ParsonsAdam Ollas Mattson & Rinat ValievJosh Healey & Andrew Nielsen | ECHLersMartin PospisilEmilio PettersenDemetrios KoumontzisDmitry ZavgorodniyAdam RuzickaMilos RomanD’Artagnan Joly | Eetu TuulolaLinus Lindstrom | Filip Sveningsson | Pavel Karnukhov, Rushan Rafikov, Mitchell Mattson



  • Stockton's Finest

    He should have been in Stockton for the entire year. Rushing these kids into NHL action without proper adjustment does them a huge disservice. Valimaki is another who should have stayed with the Heat all year. Think of how Curtis Lazar was treated and how it affected his development.

    I hope both Dube and Valimaki make the Flames and become solid contributors. But what is better for a young player just starting out: 8 NHL minutes a game where the coach doesn’t trust you and eating popcorn every few games or 20 AHL minutes in all situations every game where you lead your team to a length playoff run?

    • Baceda

      Oh sure you just want them to play in the heat so you can watch them in person all the time 😉
      But no, I definitely agree with you and was going to make the same point about Lazar. We don’t want Dube to lose his scoring touch and turn into just a bottom sixer.
      I wouldn’t be as worried about Valimaki though as I don’t think playing bottom of the line up has the same negative effect on defensemen as it does on forwards.

    • HOCKEY83

      Agree Stockton’s Finest. I even feel that Bennett should have played one more season in the O considering his 18 year old season he was injured the entire season. He was brought up too soon.

      • Baceda

        Hockey 83, Absolutely, who knows how Bennett would’ve turned out with one more spin in the OHL and then maybe even a season in the AHL. I personally think it would’ve been a lot better for his development

    • freethe flames

      SF: I agree that most players should spend some time if not a full season in the AHL and being rushed to soon hurts their development and their preparedness for the NHL. One of the issues for the freshly drafted is NHL or CHL and teams to often feeling the cap crunch put an entry level player into the NHL. This season I suspect that none of te new kids get a look at the NHL right out of camp. Pelltier would really have to stand out to be ahead of Dube and Mangiapane. Depending on what transpires during the rest of the off season I doubt you see either Dube or Valimaki.

    • Albertabeef

      90% of new players to the NHL start on the 4th getting 5-12 minutes. It’s just the way it is, and has been this way for decades. Theo back in ’89 played on the fourth line with Hunter and Pep as a rookie. But Theo did start on the farm with 40 games with a 37g 37a for 74 points. Theo made it really hard for the Flames not to call him up.
      For Dube I wonder if those first 24 NHL games helped slow the game down for him at the AHL level.

      • HOCKEY83

        No…That’s not true…Fleury played on a line with Mullen and Gilmore almost right away. He had 2 goals and 3 assits in his first 2 games. He only started on the farm that season because he came into camp 20 pounds overweight…or he would have started the full season.

        • Albertabeef

          I’m reminded of an Elston cartoon with Pep and Hunter jumping over the boards and Theo in the middle climbing a ladder over the boards. One of my favorite all time Elstons, my second most reason to buy the Calgary Sun back in the day.

  • drogon

    @off the wall… I agree.
    “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”
    If we don’t upgrade the middle, this team is going nowhere.
    I remain positive about the whole thing as there’s some time left for BT to get it done!

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”

      Incorrect. Working out every day will result in different muscle mass and better physical health. Meditation over and over results in a less volatile personality and better mental health. Practicing stick handling every day results in better stick handling. I could go on.

      Not being smart, but that quote is incorrect and tired.

      • Hockeysense9393

        Good way to look at it BTF. Shouldn’t the Flames just naturally be the same or better just on the point of maturing and training? What if we get rid of Brodie and then Hamonic goes down for 2 months. The landscape is ever changing.

        If there isn’t a move that makes sense, the Flames are better off waiting till there is. What’s wrong with starting with the same winning lineup and tweaking some during the season when your tradable players become more of a premium. Personally I would rather a player in the lineup then trading for a draft pick. That draft pick isn’t gonna help anything right now. Give a few more weeks and other teams are gonna feel the pinch.

          • Hockeysense9393

            Year after year the playoffs have surprises. The main objective is to get in the playoffs. Anything can happen once your in, and I would hope and expect that next year would be better then last year just on maturing alone. A consistent playoff team is the most important factor and then learn, mature, and take your shot at the next one. St. Louis has been doing this for a decade. How long was Washington chasing, constantly going out in the 1st or 2nd round? How long has TB been chasing? So this team is more built for the season then the playoffs. You still need to make sure you’re there, and this teams good enough.

    • Kevin R

      Drogon, Im confused a bit. We won the west so wouldnt you do similar things to get similar results? The question is, how can you get similar results but do it even better. Problem is, in a cap parity league, even when you have things down perfect & want to keep doing it over & over again, you cant. Give Tre credit, he is trying to improve down the middle, but so are a lot of other teams. If Kadri had come over, we definitely would have upgraded that position. It didnt happen, that’s not Tre’s fault. In a few weeks the dominos are going to fall into place & we will know what Rittch & Bennett’s cap hits will be. We will see more moves by Tre & we’ll have lots to discuss soon.

      • drogon

        I’m a big admirer of BT, he’s an outstanding manager, we’re lucky to have him. I put the Einstein’s quote thinking of building a Stanley Cup team, I’m sorry if I offended anyone. In any sports, it’s all about winning and you build the team keeping that goal in mind. Also, in many sports, a strong middle is the key. I do believe that BT seen it during the playoffs, he now knows our big weakness and knows that Sean Monahan is too slow to be a center, … I believe BT will fix it! Again, the regular season is a step in the process, but your team should be built to win the cup every year!

      • HOCKEY83

        And I think The Flames will trade away a player or 2 for picks and for cap space, sign the RFAs and maybe add some slightly overpaid somewhat offensive older forward with whatever extra cap they may have left over.

      • LannyMac

        Can somebody pls explain to me how Frolik and Brodie have value. Pls take your Flames goggles off because I guarantee you other teams see a 5,6 defenceman with some value but a lot of liabilities. It is even worse for Frolik. In the eyes of 30 Gms I guarantee you they see two decent but overpriced players. I’m hoping for a strong counter argument cause I don’t see how Yre gets anything back.

        • freethe flames

          For the last 6 years Brodie has averaged 36 points a year with no year below 30 points ; how is that a 5/6 defenceman in the nhl. At worse it is a 4 and on many teams in the NHL it is a top paring guy with flaws; but many teams have top pairing guys with flaws. These aren’t rose coloured glasses but he would be an upgrade for a lot of teams even with a year left. Frolik is another matter and is not as valuable at the start of teh season as he would have at the TDL. Many players have flaws in their games.

        • freethe flames

          5 x30= 150. 6x 30= 180. So you believe there are 150 D better than TJ in the NHL. Over the last 6 years; points by a defenceman he ranks 38th average per season. 49th/24th/18th/40th/52nd/43rd averaging out to 38th. +/- not the best stat but one league measures: 135th/22nd/84th/*276/*291/6th for an average of 135th for D. the two* are the season under Gullie where he played on his non preferred side. Over that 6 year period he is a combined plus 16. His worse year again playing on his non preferred side he was -16 both seasons. Find flaws in his game all you want and he has them but he is not a 5/6 D in this league and when used properly he is a 3/4 at worse and with a good partner he can complement and play in a top pairing; he will not drive that pairing but he can and does support a legit top level D. The stats over 6 years bare that out.

          • freethe flames

            Counting stats are frequently the stats used by most fans and I agree they don’t paint a true picture of how a d man is they one of the many measuring sticks. My point was to counter LannyMac absurd statement of TJ being a 5/6 with some common stats. I get that TJ is not a top defender in this league; he has plenty of flaws but to suggest that he is a 5/6 on most teams is just not based upon any stats.

          • HarveysFleaCollar

            Offensive stats are a terrible way to determine how good a dman is. Is Erik Karlsson or PK Subban really better than Viktor Hedman or Drew Doughty? No. Their stats maybe better but they are not better dman.

          • HarveysFleaCollar

            I’d say he is a number 4..tops on any contending team any way. Look at the teams that were in the finals d rosters..I dont see Brodie bumping anyone in either teams top 4…

          • Albertabeef

            TJ got Gio closer to a Norris than Hamilton did. But if you look at the “takeaways” stat, Brodie was 5th, just behind Gio. The same stat over the last 6 seasons TJ ranks 3rd in the league among defencemen. TJ might not be physical but he generally has good skating, positioning and is really good with his stick. Also when going through the playoff stats it’s not Brodie’s stats that make me cringe. But if I go down that road I’ll see nothing but trashes lol.

        • HarveysFleaCollar

          I agree on the value of Brodie, but others see it. I see a strong, smooth skating week on the puck, weak positionally, weak shot and first pass dman. He is the kind of guy that needs to sheltered. Frolik, as much as I’m not a fan (because of the misuse) is a great 3rd liner. Plays a great, responsible 200 foot game and can score when needed. If he and Backlund and Dube were the 3rd line, I could live with that.

        • freethe flames

          Albertabeef; he’s over 1/2 point a game in the playoffs over 20 games. HFC; he proably doesn’t bump the top for from the finalist but what about the other 28 teams; I suspect he would improve quite a few teams top 4.

    • Flaming moe

      Bottom line is Monohan and Gaudreau will not out work/muscle/smart/will there way to a Stanley cup. Not even close. There track record proves this. They CANNOT be your teams laeaders going into playoff war.

  • Trevy

    There is no doubt Dube is a great prospect and will make the team next season on a full time basis. However, what jumped out at me in this article, is how Dube’s first injury on his first shift occurred by Gudbranson. Not only do we lose Dube, but we also lose Hamonic cause he was the only one that was able or willing to take on a guy like him. Again I wonder if we had a player like Reaves, especially given how many small star players we’re accumulating, if this would of even happened. Having a player like Reaves, gives our small players a deeper sense of security and confidence. I know not a lot of people share this opinion, but the Pacific division is getting heavier and we’re getting smaller. They will need protection from more than the likes of Hamonic or risk more needless injuries

    • Luter 1


      As I read this article and seen the abuse that Dube took the first year, no doubt in my mind we need someone to put a little fear into the other team when needed. Even against Colorado, Gio got steamrolled and never was the same after that hit. We need to be able to prot3ct our assets and we have done a crappy job over the years even with Ferland getting concussed in one of his first games. Let’s be proactive versus reactive on tough aggressive play. Brodie and Frolik don’t fit that bill so lets keep looking for trading partners.

  • Off the wall

    Based upon the current state of the NHL teams, this is how I see the Conference playing out.

    Central
    1. Nashville
    2. St Louis
    3. Colorado
    4. Dallas
    5. Chicago
    6. Winnipeg
    7. Minnesota

    Pacific
    1. SAN Jose
    2. Vegas
    3. Arizona
    4. Calgary
    5. Vancouver
    6. Edmonton
    7. LA
    8. Anaheim

    I think we’ll be in a fight for a Wildcard spot. The Central has improved the most, Colorado, Chicago and Dallas specifically.

    Vancouver, Arizona has improved. SAN Jose and Vegas always seem to in the mix every season.

    It wouldn’t surprise me, if we miss the playoffs this season. Yeah, I hate to be the guy who says that, and perhaps I’m way off base with my current evaluation, but it still doesn’t make me feel better knowing our team hasn’t added, and will most likely be subtracting from the roster this year!

    • Hockeysense9393

      I don’t know…I’m in the boat that says the Flames were pretty good and other teams needed to make more changes to compare to them. Looking at the Pacific division doesn’t exactly say that. San Jose if anything went sideways and may have even downsized some. Sure Vegas could be scary, but they still need to dump some significant cap. Arizona was one of the lowest scoring teams in the league, so their adds basically just meet the needs as apposed to exceeding. Vancouver is just fun to watch cuz no one really knows what they are doing. All the other teams are just trying.

      The Central is interesting, but adding players for the point of adding doesn’t necessarily mean they are better. Nashville lost a good defenceman to add yet another over-rated forward and their old goalie is yet one year older. Dallas could be good, but they added to shore up as apposed to increasing. Colorado could be scary for sure and Chicago could be anybodies guess. St. Louis will probably be good on the point that they really didn’t do anything.

      You need to remember that all these teams were looking up at the Flames, so obviously they needed to get better. If Talbot plays average goaltending, the Flames should be right near the top again with the whole season to tweak if needed.

    • HOCKEY83

      So because the Flames haven’t added an extra overpaid forward they go from best in the west to missing the playoffs? Wondering what San Jose have done to gain tops in the division. Their big moves so far is they’ve lost some key players and overpaid Karlsson and if the division is lucky they’re going to try and hire two 40 year olds as well.

    • Kevin R

      Sorry OTW, I just dont see Arizona finishing 3rd. Also dont see San jose winning the division, they have the same sub.900 goaltenders & dont have the cap space to upgrade. I dont see Chicago leap frogging Winnipeg either. Jets still have some pretty darn good forwards. My Pacific prediction: Vegas, Calgary, San Jose, Vancouver, Edmonton, Arizona, LA & Anaheim

      • Albertabeef

        You know it all depends which teams show up. Will it be the pre-allstar or post-allstar teams? Calgary was 16th(tied for points with 14th place) in the league from Feb 1st onward(last 30ish games).

        • meat1

          @Albertabeef…..I totally remember that picture. Elston was awesome!!! My favourite of all time was just after the Gretzky trade to LA, and the Kings were in Edmonton for 99’s first game back. Gretzky didn’t score but McSorley actually did! The caption had Marty patting Gretzky on the back (way harder than little Wayne was used to being hit) and said something like “Well Gretz, sure nice to pop one in for the ol’ fans eh!!!!” Classic!

      • Off the wall

        It’s all good FN!
        I just put that out there and certainly didn’t expect anyone to agree. I’m just thinking of worse case scenario, however you all make valid arguments as to why I’m off the wall!

    • LannyMac

      I hope you guys make up these trade suggestions just for S and giggles because if they were consummated the other GMs would be fired and committed. Ok ok I’ve got one we will give our garbage all the S we don’t want and you can give us one of your top three players. It never hurts to dream I guess.

    • Stockton's Finest

      Welcome back WW. Not much action except some AHL fills.

      How did you like Vegas as a retirement destination?

      Looks like Mrs. Finest and I will be back in Calgary and Vancouver in early February. Hope you can join this time around.

      • The GREAT WW

        BT better get busy; most other teams in the Pacific are improving.

        Vegas is still on the list.
        Still a few years away from retirement.
        February is a busy time for me, but you never know…..

        WW

        • freethe flames

          Very little left on FA in my opinion for the big club but there are still some that could make the organization better. More and more it looks like he needs to make a hockey trade for TJ and some sort of underwhelming trade for Frolik as a salary dump.

          • Trevy

            I agree Free, obviously BT is trying to do just that with Brodie and it makes sense. We need another top six to replace the inevitable departure of Frolik as a salary dump and Brodie plus will be the pieces going the other way. Unfortunately, other teams have already been taking care of their own yard and we are running out of options. Vegas, Florida, TB, Det, NJ and Mon are ones that I think could be a fit for both teams. PTO’s will soon start as well since the FA’s have all but dried up

  • freethe flames

    As fans we wait to see what BT gets done. Lot’s of use present a lot of trade options that we think might work( I know I have presented more than my share) but in the end it’s up to BT. The frustrating part is seeing other teams closing the gap while it appears nothing has happened with our squad. So far we have signed Talbot and until he shows me something next year it is saw off whether we improved our goaltending. We have lost GH one of the few guys who had some grit his game so I think we have gotten a little worse here. The only other loss that matters a bit is Fattenberg but he is a 6/7 at best with this squad. Where this team is likely to improve is in the likely progression with our young guys but the concern is can the Big 4 upfront repeat their seasons; will Gio repeat his stand out season. The biggest wild card of all this is will James Neal return even closely to form or is he now the guy we saw last year. Waiting for BT to make his next move.

  • SouthernFlame

    What if we dumped Stone and Frolik. Then offered Kylington with Neal to someone. Traded Brodie for whatever. ,And sent an offer sheet to the Leafs for 5x$9.5 mill to get Marner. Stone, Frolik,Kyl,Neal and Brodie = $13,181,233 in cap space. Wouldn’t that make up for this slow offseason?? Imagine waking up to that tomorrow morning! I know its not gonna happen.

  • drogon

    With the NHL now being focused on speed & skills, cash is moving towards younger players. 2-3 players on your roster can easily eat up 30% of your cap space. Teams will turn more and more to ELCs to fill in roster spots.

  • HarveysFleaCollar

    Dube is a good replacement for Frolik or Janko. I personally, would like to see him get some 3rd line minutes at either center or wing depending if anyone is brought in and where guys slot in. Without any changes, if thebFlames go with the roster today..I’d like to something like this

    JG SM JN
    MT EL SB
    DB MB MF
    AM DR AC

    MG RA
    NH TH
    JV TB

    • HarveysFleaCollar

      If, like I’m hoping, BT is able to move TJ and Janko to Montreal for Gallagher and a B prospect, and Frolik to the Devils for Michael McLeod and a 4th round pick, the roster could look like this

      JG SM JN
      MT EL BG
      SB MB AM
      DB DR AC

      MG RA
      NH JV
      OK TH

      • freethe flames

        Why do you like McLeod so much? His stats don’t scream NHL er. I always want to know why people like someone’s prospect? It appears tha NJ has a number of solid RW prospects. I highly doubt Montreal moves Galagher.

        • HarveysFleaCollar

          Watched him play a few games in the O and really liked his power game at the wjc. He is a power forward with skill and toughness..could be a great 3rd liner who could move up the lineup if needed. Reminds me of Tkachuk just less talented.

      • Off the wall

        Jake Allen is getting $4.35M.
        Binnington signed for $50,000 more. He’s banking on making more when he hits UFA status in two years.

        I think you’ll see Rittich come in about $ 2.85M over 2 years.
        It gives him slightly more than Talbot, but not significantly more, as he doesn’t have a lot of NHL experience under his belt.
        I think that would be good for him and the Flames’

        • freethe flames

          If we can get Rittich signed for $3m and Bennett signs for $2.5m(recent signings suggest this as a reasonable guess) it still means we have to buy Stone out and move one of Frolik and TJ for cap space; unless of course Tkachuk is convinced to come in around the Flames internal cap; cash or %.

          • LannyMac

            There is no way Rittich gets over 3. He is unproven, great up until Jan then nagging injury. If he is as good as he was for three mths take the 3 mill and do that over a full season then he can negotiate this time next year for term and 4.5+

        • freethe flames

          @LannyMac: That could entirely be true a prove it deal over 1 year. But that depends if it goes to arbitration and then I think he gets over $3m. Again the lower he and Bennett come in at the easier it will be for Tre to be cap compliant.

  • freethe flames

    Dube had a good rookie season as a pro. Hopefully he has learned some lessons about playing at the highest level. I believe he has played all three forward positions as a pro. Many have suggested that he might be the Frolik replacement(swiss army knife froward) who can play throughout the line up and I think he has that kind of potential. At this point he likely plays on the third or forth line depending on how BO decides to use the players he has available. I could also see him be given a chance to play up the line up if Neal does show up to be the player we thought he would be or if BT does not make a hockey trade to improve the top 6. Time will tell.

  • freethe flames

    Just read an interesting article on possible landing places for TJ; they include Tampa, Montreal, Detroit, the Islanders and the Jets. I wonder how many of these teams are on his NT list. For most of the offseason I have felt it would be Montreal but have cooled on that because of the players they have already moved and added. Detroit is a natural place for him as they need the help on D, he would likely waive and resign there, and they have a number of young forwards to choose from that could likely play in our top 6. Looking at the Islander’s lineup I could see him being an upgrade but I just don’t see a realistic return for him with them. Would BT make a trade with the Jets? Tampa?