What to make of Dillon Dube’s season with the Calgary Flames

Photo credit:© Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
1 year ago
One of the more interesting players to watch this season for the Calgary Flames has been Dillon Dube. He has already set career highs in both assists and points and has tied his career high in goals with 18. There have been indications that he is ready to take the next step in his career as a top six forward. But is he truly ready for that role? His season and career have been very streaky and inconsistent which leads to the question, what is Dillon Dube?
Is Dube a bottom six, role player who brings speed and energy? Or is Dube going to be a top six winger who can score 20 goals and 50 points a season?
Dube started the 2022-23 season playing with the best linemates of his career. He has spent the majority of the season on a line with the likes of Elias Lindholm, Tyler Toffoli, Nazem Kadri, and Andrew Mangiapane. He put up some decent results with them.

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From the beginning of the season until Mar. 6, Dube was mainly on a line with two of Lindholm, Toffoli, Kadri or Mangiapane. In those 63 games among Flames forwards, Dube ranked third in goals (17), sixth in assists (21), and sixth in points (38). Those are some decent results from a young player. But the underlying numbers tell a different story.
In those same 63 games, among the ten Flames forwards to play at least 400 minutes at 5-on-5, Dube ranks ninth in CF%, ninth in xGF%, ninth in SCF%, and is tenth in HDCF%. The only player who has worse analytics is Milan Lucic.
After playing the entire season in the top six, head coach Darryl Sutter changed up the lines on Mar. 6 and one of the big changes he made was taking Dube off the top line with Lindholm and Toffoli. Dube has not found regular teammates since being taken off the top line as he has played with a number of different combinations which includes:
Dube’s scoring stats and underlying numbers have suffered since the lines have been shaken up.
In the 14 games since Mar. 6, Dube has one goal, three assists, and four points which is the second lowest total on the team among regular forwards. Only Lewis is below Dube in scoring during this period.
Among 11 Flames forwards to play at least 100 minutes since Mar. 6, Dube ranks last in xGF%, last in GF%, second last in SCF%, and is fourth last in HDCF%. He has really struggled mightily in the last month.
This leads us back to the question of what is Dube at the NHL level?
After watching nearly every game and reviewing the numbers from this season, I am more confused than ever about what kind of player he is.
His goals and assists would indicate that he is a solid middle six winger who could contribute 15-20 goals and 40-50 points a season. The eye test also shows that Dube has a lot of talent. He is one of if not the best skater on the team. He has a very good shot which we have seen a lot of this season. And he is very competitive and physical for someone his size. Sutter has even said that Dube is the most improved player on the team.
But his underlying numbers relative to his teammates have been awful this season and would imply that he is bordering on being a replacement level player.
So which evaluation is right? The eye test and box scores? Or the analytics? Or is it a mix of both?
What are your thoughts on Dillon Dube’s season? Let us know in the comments section!

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