Is Dillon Dube’s time with the Calgary Flames wearing thin?

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Raz Devraj
6 months ago
Through six seasons, Dillon Dube’s tenure with the Calgary Flames hasn’t quite turned out as some expected, and so far this season he’s off to a challenging start – finding himself playing on the fourth line recently. He has been anything but impactful a majority of the time he’s out on the ice and at times it seems as if he’s going through the motions, with no real identity to his game. 
Dube was drafted 56th overall in 2016 by the Flames. Scouting reports suggested that he was a first-round draft pick skill-wise and that his size was the reason he dropped to the second round. He was projected to be a player who played a heavy game in the offensive zone. Someone who could forecheck hard, dig out pucks in the corner, and then be able to create offence and make plays from all that work. Not only have I not consistently seen that tenacious and hungry style of play from Dube, he also hasn’t produced offensively at the level he needs to in order to be a player the Flames don’t look to move on from.   
Through 305 games played in the NHL, Dube has collected a total of 57 goals and 127 points and has played the second most games out of any forward drafted in the second round of the 2016 draft class. 
Let’s take a look at who else was drafted in the second round who has played about the same number of games that Dube has: Alex DeBrincat (39th overall) has 396 points and Jordan Kyrou (35th overall) who has played 20 less games has 210 points. Three defencemen who were drafted either in the second or third round in 2016 also have more points than Dube. Samuel Girard (47th overall) with 185, Filip Hronek (53rd overall) with 182, and Adam Fox (66th overall) with 250. When comparing players in the entire draft class who have played around the same amount of games, only two players have produced less than Dillon Dube: Jesse Puljujarvi and Luke Kunin. 
There are a few things to consider when taking a look at the possibility of the Flames wanting to move on from Dube. The first is the fact that he is 25 and in his sixth season with the Flames only having one season with over 40 points which came last year. 
According to the Elite Prospects’ projection on Dube this year, he is on pace to score 11 goals and finish with 25 points. That is major regression for a forward who age-wise is in his prime, and should be building off of a career year in 2022-23 where he had 18 goals and 45 points. With the way he has been playing this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if that projection ends up being pretty accurate. 
The second thing that we can look at is that Dube has pretty much had a chance everywhere in the lineup. Whether he’s playing centre or the wing and whether he’s on the first, second, third, or fourth line nothing ever seems to stick with him. 
What makes it even more disappointing for Dube is that he has already seemingly been overtaken by both Connor Zary and Martin Pospisil who both have less than 20 games played in the NHL in terms of ice time and where they are situated in the lineup. Dube is now on the fourth line averaging 13:11 minutes of ice time while these two new kids who have found a steady home on the second line with Nazem Kadri are averaging 15:09 (Zary) and 13:14 (Pospisil). 
Zary has played 15 games and Pospisil has played 14 games this year while Dube has played 24. Zary has 11 points, Pospisil has 5, and Dube has 7. So with these younger guys who are earning their spots and contributing positively is there room for Dube if he continues this “meh” type of play, especially when there will need to be room for Jakob Pelletier when he is ready to return? Someone like Pospisil, who is generating offence while also bringing a strong physical side to his game, makes it even more noticeable of just how un-impactful Dube has been.
It would be a great time for the Flames to first, realize Dube probably isn’t worth holding onto for much longer especially with the team having prospects like Matt Coronato and Adam Klapka shine in the AHL, as well as the fact that the team is knocking on the door of a possible wildcard spot a quarter-way into the season. Perhaps one of the players on the farm could help the team as much (or more) as Dube has been. Secondly, start actively seeing what interest there is around the league for a 25-year-old forward who may just need a change of scenery to find his game. 
Trading Dube would shave off $2.3 million off the books and Dube’s contract ending at the end of the year (he’s a pending restricted free agent) may help facilitate a trade, so what could the Flames expect in a return?
A player that screams similarity to Dube is Anthony Beauvillier. He is 26 years old and has produced about the same kind of numbers as Dube, never having 40+ points in a season. He was just recently traded by the Vancouver Canucks to the Chicago Blackhawks for a fifth-round pick. Beauvillier has had that change of scenery already that players sometimes really need in order to reset (look at Sean Monahan) whereas Dube hasn’t, so I do think he has a higher chance of improving. 
If the Flames are looking to acquire future assets in a return for Dube I think aiming for a fourth-round-pick would be reasonable considering where the Canucks and Blackhawks set the market at for that exact type of player. 
Time is ticking for Dillon Dube to figure things out and prove that he deserves to keep his spot on this Flames roster.

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