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FlamesNation Top 20 Prospects 2019: #2 Dillon Dube

One more game, and Dillon Dube wouldn’t be eligible for this list.

The 56th overall pick in the 2016 draft, Dube is the obvious (maybe only) choice for the most NHL ready forward prospect of any we ranked this go-around. The 5’11”, 183 pound forward was very close to graduating and shedding the prospect title forever after making the big team out of camp, but a rough first taste of the NHL showed that he wasn’t ready quite yet.

After a strong AHL performance in the latter half of the season, there’s really nothing more to say about Dube other than he is ready. He jumps up two spots to number two on our countdown, on what should be his final appearance on this list.

How did we get here?

A graduate of the prestigious Notre Dame program in Saskatchewan, Dube was selected 21st overall in the WHL draft by the Kelowna Rockets. He slowly worked his way up the lineup for the club, building on a moderately successful rookie season (27 points in 45 games) by becoming a handy two-way threat in his draft year. He picked up 61 points in 60 games while also showing off his sharp defensive skills, making him an easy choice for the Flames in the second round of the 2016 draft.

After that, Dube exploded. Although an injury forced him to miss the opening few weeks of the WHL season, Dube caught up and finished with a strong 55 point in 40 games, adding 21 more in the playoffs. Dube also worked his way onto the Team Canada roster despite having less time to prepare, going all the way to the WJC gold medal game before bowing out to the Americans in the finale.

From there, he began to appear on the radar of the NHL in general. One of the biggest surprises at the 2017-18 training camp, Dube carried that momentum into his WHL season, turning heads with his fantastic play with the Rockets. Dube was also appointed captain of Canada’s WJC team, tying up loose ends from the previous year’s tournament and winning gold. With 84 points in 53 games -and a strong four point, six game audition with the Heat at the end of the season- Dube made his case to be an NHL player for 2018-19.

Stats, numbers, and everything therein 

He achieved that, but only kind of. Dube began the year with the Flames, winning a spot out of training camp, but was sent down to the Stockton Heat around the halfway point of the season.

Games played Goals Assists Points
NHL 25 1 4 5
AHL 37 15 24 39

His NHL stint didn’t go that well, which is a bit expected. Jumping from WHL to NHL is tough in many ways, as Dube learned throughout various points of the 25 games he played. Emphatically so on his literal first shift of NHL hockey, where he was run over by the Canucks’ Erik Gudbranson. He also was on the receiving end of a nasty check from Duncan Keith later on, ending his night 14 seconds in. Perhaps it was the rookie status, perhaps it was just bad luck, but Dube saw a season’s worth of rough stuff in just 25 games.

Physical adversity aside, Dube just never quite settled in at the NHL level. He exclusively spent his time in the bottom six, was always the first to be stapled to the bench in close games, and just was a step behind everyone else. The Flames eventually decided that he was in need of some AHL seasoning before becoming a permanent fixture in the lineup.

However, his AHL time left no doubts about where he should be next season. Dube started slow in the AHL, but quickly became one of the Heat’s most important players. Despite playing just over half the season with the Heat, Dube finished sixth in scoring, and was a major all-around contributor.

Those in the know 

Stockton head coach Cail MacLean offered his thoughts on Dube’s intangible game:

He’s got a little bit of that special ingredient, similar to a Rasmus Andersson has a similar ingredient, in that they like to be in those pressure situations. Dillon, he’s such an efficient hockey player that he kind of exudes that kind of poise because he doesn’t have to work. He works hard, but he works really efficiently so he looks really smooth on the ice. And as we can all attest to, the ability to be faster than everybody on the ice is such a huge advantage in this game.

How does the coach think he can build off his strong finish to the year?

He obviously clipped along at about a point per game pace. That’s beneficial when you’re playing more limited minutes in the NHL and you’ve always been a go-to guy in your career, and you get a chance to get back to that and get a renewed appreciation for it, and it gave him that good confidence to carry back up to the NHL. Now it’s just a matter of what kind of summer can be have, and can he be as prepared to play and as effective in training camp this year as he was last year – cause obviously it was a great training camp for him last year.

On the horizon

Dube has been pencilled in to the Flames roster for 2019-20. There’s no point in sending him back down to the AHL, and with his pro legs seemingly underneath him, there’s simply no place to go.

He figures to fill James Neal’s old spot on the third line, ideally adding an extra play-driving element to the Mark Jankowski and Sam Bennett duo (in the wake of the exact opposite of that). The Flames are hoping that he can start solidifying his two-way game this season and provide some stability in the bottom six before moving him up to bigger things.

It’s not going to be a perfect 82 games for Dube, but he should definitely be more consistent and make a larger impact than he did the first time around.

Previously

  • Heeeeere’s Johnny

    If you want to take a simplistic view of the roster, I see Dube as a potential replacement for Frolik. He’s got the two-way chops and the tenacity to play there. Whether he gets that chance out of the gate is up for debate but I’m guessing he ends up there. I don’t mind the looks of this.
    JG-SM-EL
    MT-MB-DD
    SB-DR-ML
    AM-MJ-AC

      • Brian Burkee

        Are you being serious? You want lucic to be a defensive shut down player???? Omg man have you seen the poor guy play. I think ppl are out to lunch to think that a guy Who is 32 years old is all of a sudden going to become faster or a shut down type player.

      • TheBigChef

        He also said Lucic was going to get shifts on the top line with Monny and Jonny.

        Turns out the worst part of the trade wasn’t actually Lucic’s contract. It’s that Bill Peters gets to play him however he wants!

        • What else should he say? “He will be on the 3rd and 4th line for life. That is what we think of him and there is no point beating around the bush.” That would work wonders for his confidence and getting the best out of him. And yes I do understand his best is not great at this point in time but why shoot himself in the foot even more?

  • freethe flames

    The good thing with Dube is he can play a variety of positions. In the A he played both center and RW and he has played on the leftside at the nhl. He could play on any of the 3 bottom lines and find a role.

    • freethe flames

      Skylar:#1 will beValimaki and he is on IR. Kylington does not qualify b/c of games played.
      I agree that things are not great in regards to depth and I understand your frustration with much of BT decisions but you need to get out your dark space on this. Hopefully once the season starts the team will play well and we can find something to cheer about.

  • Skylardog

    So here we are, with just 1 guy left on the prospect countdown. Dube checks in at 2. Great prospect. Started the season in the big leagues. Should be an NHLer this season.

    Not sure who is number 1, but the only guy I see right now that is left is Ky. Should he even qualify as a prospect? Spent most of last season in Calgary, played 38 games here, while Vali, due to injury, played just 24. Neither are really prospects anymore. Heck, Vali wouldn’t have had a second in the AHL if he hadn’t been injured.

    That means our best prospect is a kid (Pelletier) that is headed back to junior for at least 1 and probably 2 years, is small, and is at least 3 years away on most accounts from being an NHLer.

    Can you say a depleted farm?

    SO here is the BT era in a nutshell.

    One playoff series win, in his first year as GM.
    One playoff win since.
    Missed the playoffs 2 of the 4 years.
    Blew the farm, literally, to get that playoff win.
    Has a cap issue that is of his own making. Not a one mistake issue. Multiple errors got him there.
    Has left our top RFA forward unsigned into September (close enough) and a hold out is a likely scenario
    Has cap issues, and has made no moves other than a buyout for a player that never should have been signed to begin with. By the way, we now need that player because of a single injury to a D core that just 2 years ago was considered one of the best in the NHL.
    Traded for what is considered to be the second worst contract in the NHL, by trading out the guy that was signed just 14 months ago as the RW savior we have needed since Iggy left.

    Sure there is some good stuff, like getting guys on sweet deals. But that hasn’t added up to playoff wins now has it?

    The farm is the tell tale sign of bad management. To say we are empty is an understatement.

    BT is looking for work by May next summer. That is 2 years too late.

    • buts

      I agree skydog. If you look at the bargains he has our star players signed too it’s amazing to think we are in cap jail. Credit BT for getting those deals signed but we have 6 top players all making unreal low money compared to the rest of the league and here we are with a great core that we can’t add to because of cap issues that BT is responsible for by signing free agents that were over the hill or just plain not good. Our drafting and lack of picks to me are the real problem with BT. Not only have we traded away too many picks but the players drafted are small and not great skaters. Read Pronman’s article on our farm team and he went into a lot of detail……..bottom line is our farm team is real bad compared to others…..ranked last.

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      Firstly, so many teams are in ‘cap hell’. that is the name of the game, and if you want to have a competitive team, you need to push yourself to the max cap hit. This is a dance, not a sign of moral ineptitude. Second, we just finished with 107 points, and were second in the league last year. Do you really think Tre will get fired after next season, assuming we have another strong season?

      I agree that our prospect pool leaves much to be desired, but I dare say one cannot fairly suggest that a GM will be fired just because he is up against the cap and his prospect pool is bare.

      I do think you make excellent points, but this is a really, really good team. There is no questioning that. In fact, I think we will be even better this year (knock on wood) than we were last year–not necessarily in points, but where it matters. But I agree, we need picks. We need prospects.

      But we are not LAK; our team average in age is not 37. We still have multiple years worth of a quality team left before we are in need of replacing a large amount of our team. I am no expert in forecasting the team into the future, but I think we will be good for a few years more, no?

      And, while prospects are never certain in any case, no matter how high their draft pedigree, we do have a few interesting prospects that many could definitely see making this team in the next 2 years or so. And yes, WW, they are mostly rather short. But that’s why we have Prospil (sp), and Ruzika. Again, not arguing that our prospect pool isn’t bare, but we have an excellent team, and we have a youthful core just entering their prime.

      • Kevin R

        Geez B M S, lets have the best farm system, lets have the best drafting that all our draft picks hit the NHL immediately or within 1 or 2 years & be stars & lets pay all these stars way below market salaries because that’s what all the other teams do. Seems like the summer time Oiler drinking water has somehow been smuggled around here.

          • Kevin R

            I’m being sarcastic with the expectation I read on here & I agree with you. I look at Monahan, Gaudreau, Bennett, Tkachuk, Jankowski, Anderssen, Valamaki. Thats a lot of high draft picks making our team with minimal farm team ice time. How many teams can boast that. & since 2015 our team has taken steps to get better. If your blue chip players are making it to the NHL quick, it means your farm team is going to have a lot of later picks & roll the dice type of players. I wouldnt expect us to have a good farm team right now considering how young our core is.

          • Brian McGrattan's Salute

            Ah ya, thanks for the clarification. Too tired to grasp sarcasm today haha.

            But yeah, exactly. Also, Tre is going to get cheap labour for a very long time, especially from all those players you mention, but also from guys like Dube and Mangiapane.

            In fact, I am really impressed with how good of a team we have constructed with the limited cap, a few high salaries aside.

            I know Dubas is clever, but I cannot imagine having 2-4 10+ mill guys on our team…

        • Arthur-Leigh Adekunle Tig Junior Elvis

          I believe the Flames are 4th or 5th in placing home grown players on the roster the last five or six years in the entire NHL. There is definitely value in our prospect pool and our scouting of late has shown they can hit on later round picks, even if someone like Pronman has no clue ranking us last (again anyone I know who actually scouts for NHL Teams has zero time for him. He just steals other peoples opinions and his only successes are entirely based off NHLe).

          Jakob Pelletier alone finished 7th from all draft eligible prospects last year in NHLe. We also have appealing prospects in Pettersen, Pospisil, Ruzicka, etc and that ain’t even mentioning Valimaki, Dube and Kylington who all finished in the Top. 8 U22 AHL Prospects last year. I watched Pospisil online a couple of times last year, he could be an absolute HOMERUN. Emilio Pettersen is looking like one as well, no true Freshman came close to his 30 points last year in the extremely tough NCHC. Things aren’t barren at all from a prospect standpoint and not to mentionwe have a fairy young roster.

      • Derzie

        Both Skylar & Salute’s points are valid with me. When you compare Tre to the bottom of the league, he looks pretty good. That said, we have to compare him to the top of the league if that’s what we want (i.e. look at the spot you are going and you’ll get there sooner). This is a cap team that handed Tre some pretty great assets to get the ball rolling. He’s made several mis-steps (many more than most people think) that have squandered opportunity and set the team back. As mentioned, we have stars on the cheap. Problem is we blew that savings on has-beens and reclamation projects. Also, those savings are a one time thing. If you sweat stars into a team-friendly contract, you better damn well surround them with what they and need and you better have success (ie. long playoff run). Otherwise, the next contract they sign won’t be a team sweetheart version. It will be for market value somewhere else.
        Bottom line is if you don’t mind being a good bubble team, Tre is your man. If you want to be elite, he does not act like an elite GM.

    • The Fall

      Really comes down to two bad UFAs, two bad extensions, one awful coach and chasing after old goalies…

      I wonder if he let the kids in the room dictate too much.

    • Off the wall

      I will say this, if we don’t make the playoffs this season, I think you’ll see a GM change. I think Treliving really lost some confidence in the fan base due to the Lucic trade.

      The Lucic trade is probably the biggest elephant in the room right now, besides the bad UFA signings. I’m hoping that Lucic can bring some of the elements Neal didn’t, however that doesn’t preclude the fact that we DID take on an absolutely horrible contract.

      My opinion doesn’t matter, but it does concern me about Treliving’s future with the Flames.

      • Brian McGrattan's Salute

        that’s a fair point! It would be very worrisome if we didn’t make the playoffs, and even if we get bounced in round 1 again like we did

      • Kevin R

        OTW, in all honesty, do you think Neal would have come to camp & cracked the top 6 on our lineup? Do you think he would have been just a ray of sunshine & leadership within that dressing room, especially if he gets pencilled in on the 3rd or 4th lines? Neal was the biggest elephant in the room. Not Lucic. Neal was a horrendous signing. Lucic in actuality is significantly cheaper in real dollars than slugging Neal sour puss attitude any further. Sorry, but myself & many other Flame fans I have talked to are quite happy to see Neal gone & hope that we see some of Lucic’s nastiness back in his game. Just because Lucic contract is worse than Neals from a cap buyout perspective, that isnt how it works. When Banks lend money on mortgages, they expect some defaults. Every GM in the league has contracts they have given where the player doesnt come close to performing up to its salary & expectations. Its part of doing business. There is another issue of guaranteed contracts, but thats a different discussion.

      • calgaryfan

        ownership saves 10 million on the Lucic contract over Neal’s and Lucic’s cap hit is a bit lower as the Oilers are picking up some of his contract. The contract buyout cost is bad for the Flames cap for the first 4 years.

        • Kevin R

          Cap seems to be a lot more valuable to fans than real dollars & I would suspect Ownership has a bit more value ranking for real $$$ than they do for cap space.

          • TheBigChef

            Which is logical. Why should I as a fan care about the owners saving money? We are a budget team.

            On a player for player perspective, I don’t think the trade will have much impact. Neal might rebound in Edmonton, but you are right that he would likely have no place here. The strongest argument against the trade though was the contract issue. I don’t think either player will make any significant difference in terms of either team’s success or failure next year, but Lucic is undoubtedly the worst of the two contracts. If he chooses not to waive his NMC for the expansion draft and we have to protect him, that has the potential to be a dagger for us. He is also, as you mentioned, buy-out proof. Treliving has a pretty unsavory history with buyouts.

          • The Iggy complex

            I don’t think protecting Lucic or not effects the expansion draft or not. Either way were probably gonna lose a good young defenceman pending trades

          • TheBigChef

            It does though. If he chooses not to waive, it means a player we otherwise could have protected is going to be exposed. We don’t know what the roster will look like at that time.

            He might waive and it becomes no big deal. Or maybe by that point we won’t care who gets picked. But it’s irrefutable that by taking on that NMC we took on the *risk* of losing a player we otherwise would have wanted to protect. Taking on risk is fine if there is an expected value of the return that is greater than the assumed risk. I don’t see a return that is worth any added risk, even if we think that risk might be small right now.

  • Gary

    That’s harsh man. Treliving done great. 2018-19 season was terrific, tied for second overall in the league. drafted Kylington, Valmaki late in the second round, both will be NHLers for a long time. drafted Dube at 56 in second round. drafted Jakob Pelletier at 26 in the first round. The farm might appear bare at the moment due to the excellent scouting this team has done under Trelivings term. Name a team that’s improved as much as Calgary since 2015.
    Do you consider the fact that he drafted Tkachuk who now deserves to be paid a well deserved handsome salary a mistake?

    • Jobu

      Valimaki went 15th overall (if jobu recalls), but Jobu agrees that Treliving has done well. Our prospect pool is empty because the players hes drafted are playing.

      If we had a solid prospect pool, there wouldn’t be anywhere in the roster for them to play anyway.

      Andersson in the second round and Mangiapane in the 5th round!

      • TheBigChef

        There are aspects in which Treliving has done well, and others he has done quite poorly. He seems to be good at RFA negotiations and retaining his own UFAs. Nice to have a GM not afraid to make a trade. And Other than the 2014 draft–which was absolutely horrendous–I have thought drafting has been pretty good, although a lack of draft picks eventually catches up. He has a poor track record with UFA signings and asset management. He has traded away a truckload of draft picks. Some of those made sense and brought back a lot of value (Dougie and Hamonic deals). Many were wasted assets for guys who provided little value and are no longer with the organization.

        The prospect pool is depleted in part due to guys graduating, yes. But to an extent you need to expect guys to graduate to the NHL. An equally significant factor is the trading away of draft picks. In the 2018 draft we didn’t have a pick until the 4th round.

    • JeraldinChapparal

      Compared to what we’ve had since Cliff Fletcher, Brad’s done pretty well. Other than Brodie and Phaneuf you have to go back to 1996 and Derek Morris to find a defenceman that the Flames drafted and developed to play in the top pair. Prior to that it was Suter in 84 and MacInnis in 81. Prior to Gaudreau and Monahan you have to go back to 1992 and Cory Stillman to find a first line forward. For the past few years the number 1 prospect not only made the team, but contributed. That rarely happened for 20 years. 20 years! I know BT didn’t draft Jankowski, Gaudreau and Monahan, but he got Mark and Johnny to sign out of college instead of pulling an Erixon/Fox, and he signed them all to reasonable contracts. Name another team with over 100 points and no one over $7 million.

  • freethe flames

    It’s bleak on the farm;I agree but over the last two seasons the Flames have moved the following onto their nhl squad: Rittich(undated fa they developed), Janko( late first rounder they developed) Hathaway(yes I know they let him go), Anderson 2nd rounder the developed, Kylington 2nd rounder the developed, Manga pane late rounder they developed, Dube 2nd rounder who earned a spot and Valimaki first rounder who earned a spot. Take these guys out of other teams farm systems and tell me how stron they are?

    • Stockton's Finest

      It’s nice that most have graduated, but you can’t stop there, pat yourself on the back, and say good job. You need to continue to keep the shelves stocked. It would be nice to have at least one defensive prospect in the system. I believe no defensemen has been drafted in the past two years.

    • Brian McGrattan's Salute

      Totally. Our friend Daren Haynes had Dube as our 1C over the summer in a projected next few years scenario. this kid has chops, but of course we will have to see.

      I’m excited by his speed, that’s for sure. A Nathan MacKinnon type style, if not the caliber?

      • TheBigChef

        I’m sorry but your expectations are wayyyyyy too high if we’re throwing around Mackinnon’s name for Dube. We need to be happy with the fact that a late second rounder looks like he’s going to be a very good NHL player. But he’s not going to be a star, and he probably won’t be a #1C on a good NHL team.

        I’m very excited about Dube and think he’s going to be an important player, but let’s temper our expectations for the kid a bit.

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        My concern with Dube is his inability to avoid the big check early in his career. I was worried that he was trending like Lazar, blazing speed, captain of the National Junior team but could not translate it to the NHL. But now, I expect he will have the best off season leading to an enhanced role on the team.

      • deantheraven

        Oh yes they will- once, maybe twice. Most of the guys who “take liberties” in today’s NHL got there because they do. Looch will clean a few clocks but I don’t think every game will be tamer because he’s around.
        Speaking of Lucic, expectations around here are pretty low. I think he’ll play a role, and more importantly play every game. He’s going to be a man on a mission this season, and I for one see nothing but positives having him on the bench.

  • BendingCorners

    Unwind the trades involving picks – either coming or going – and the Flames are without Hanifin, Lindholm, Hamonic, Dube, Andersson and Kylington. The team would have Kyrou, Dobson and Formenton instead, but would be weaker overall. Treliving has done well with his trades and with his picks so I am not worried about a bare farm. All it takes is one or two prospects to develop better than expected and some of next summer’s picks to impress as well, and the farm team will look much better.
    The Flames are a good team and that’s mostly due to Treliving. I’ll worry about the future when it gets here.

    • Cheeky

      I’m non partial to BT – I think he’s done well, and has put together a very good team for now and the future, but he has made some costly mistakes too (some he learnt from, some not so). As mentioned many times here, drafting under him has been good, but drafting comes down to scouting correctly but most importantly, developing properly. Too many times prospects are thrown in the deep end too soon (Oilers with their high picks / Lazar) or over ripen not getting a chance to prove themselves over vets (GG era) and we blame drafting. Drafting is mostly luck, but developing is the main ingredient with opportunity being the key.
      BT’s strengths are his internal signings and his weakness is FA day (we all know this). In between I see him trying to build a winner, but he needs to look into his development angle (Are our goalies being developed correctly? Are we providing a winning environment down on the farm? Etc…) and the opportunity factor (veteran PTO’s and free agent signings vs prospect competition?). Now I know some on here believe prospects shouldn’t be handed spots which I fully agree with, but neither should vets. There is a difference between a NHL ready prospect coming to camp and seeing a spot available to win compared to seeing all spots filled by veterans (whom coaches usually lean towards). BT still has some work to do before camp, but if we don’t improve on last year (playoffs), then he will be in management’s cross hairs…

    • TheBigChef

      Not sure many people would argue the Dougie (and subsequent Lindholm) and Hamonic trades were worth the picks we gave up. What I take issue with is the other 8 picks we gave up with nothing to show for it. We gave up two second round picks, two third round picks, a fourth, a fifth, and two 7th round picks in recent drafts for the following players:
      Brian Elliott
      Mike Smith
      Curtis Lazar
      Michael Stone
      Oscar Fantenburg
      Tomas McCollum
      Nick Shore

      I fully understand sometimes those trades are necessary for immediate help and to fill holes. But many of those trades were clearly not going to be worth the price (Stone), and the cumulative value of the return on those trades has now hit zero.

      • The Iggy complex

        I think the Smith gamble was worth it. But yes the stone one made absolutely no sense. Especially at the salary he was signed for too. The Lazar trade was also a head scratcher. Rest are serviceable NHL players and are understandable

        • TheBigChef

          Smith was perhaps the most “serviceable” of the guys on that list, but he was 35 years old at the time. It was pretty clear at the time he probably wasn’t going to be here after the contract expired. Elliott played one season and was chased out of town. Fantenburg was fine but only played 14 games and seemingly no effort was put into re-signing him. McCollum and Shore did nothing for this organization.

          None of those guys are with the organization anymore, so the current cumulative value of all those trades to this current roster is zero.

          All I’m saying is it is fair to praise the good trades, but can’t just sweep these bad ones under the rug because they have had a negative impact on thinning out our prospect pool.

      • BendingCorners

        I think I accounted for all those trades in my list, Big Chef. Elliott -> Kyrou, Lazar -> Formenton, Hamonic -> Dobson. The rest of the picks ended up being “not much”. After accounting for all the ins and outs, the Flames are probably noticeably ahead of where they would have been.

  • Bean-counting cowboy

    Don’t agree with the Treliving vitriol. He has done a very decent job as a manager. Beyond the Neal blunder (which many on this site said was a good bet at the time), it could be argued that his other blunders prior have a heavy Burke fingerprint on them. It was rumored that Tre re-upping in Calgary was conditional on having more say in hockey decisions. Once the chains were removed he made some great moves and was bold on many fronts. Carolina trade was a steal; Ferland is now in Vancouver, Fox in NYC and Dougie’s deal is about to expire. We have Hanifin and Lindholm locked up for years to come at much younger ages. He is measured in his approach and you can tell he is a thinker. Even the Lucic for Neal trade may end up surprising some of the naysayers in that it is not as lopsided a trade as Oiler fans would have you believe.

    • Derzie

      ‘decent job’. If that’s the target, then he has been a success. Perrenial Cup contender is more in line with my expectations. That’s why I have a beef with Treliving. Too many glaring mistakes.

  • everton fc

    Lucic may very well silence many fans here. I think he will. I like the idea of Mangiapane-Ryan-Lucic, on the same line.

    Dube, who the post is about, is a winner. He has speed. He’s a great two-way player. He “gives”, every shift. And he’s a leader. He’ll be a very good player for us, next season.