By Torie Peterson
When asked about the development of Dillon Dube, Craig Conroy shifted the conversation to where he sees the forward in the future.
“Overall, where he came from his draft year until now, you just feel like this guy is going to play. I don’t know when he’s going to be in the NHL, but he’s going to be in the NHL, and he’s going to be a factor,” said the Flames assistant GM. “He just seems to rise to every occasion … this guy loves it, relishes it and plays better in big spots.”
Since being picked 56th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft, Dube has become known as a jack-of-all trades.
Need offence? No problem.
The Cochrane product has averaged 1.14 points-per-game over the past four seasons with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, scoring 101 goals and 232 points in 203 regular-season games. The 2017-18 campaign was a banner year for the forward, with Dube registering a career-high 38 goals and 84 points in just 53 skates.
Looking for a character player? He’s a natural leader.
Dube captained Canada to gold at this year’s IIHF World Junior Championship, putting up five points in seven games at the tournament. He also wore an ‘A’ with the Rockets this past season.
In need of a defensive forward? Dube is your guy.
The 19-year-old’s play in his own zone has drawn rave reviews. He throws himself into a back-checking role whenever necessary, chasing down his opponents and disrupting them from setting up on the cycle.
Special teams? Dube has both the powerplay and penalty-kill covered.
Last season, nine of his goals came with the man-advantage and he was a staple on the Rockets’ powerplay. He also spent plenty of time killing off infractions and managed three short-handed goals in the process.
In search of a face-off specialist? Dube can handle himself in the circle.
He won 547 of his 1,006 draws, a 54% success rate.
With four years in the WHL, it isn’t a surprise he’s been able to find success amongst his peers. However, he has spent time in the AHL with the Stockton Heat, giving the organization a glimpse of what they can expect from him at the next level. In six games this spring, he put up four assists and looked very comfortable suiting up against pros.
“He can excel in every situation and that’s what you’re looking for,” Conroy said.
“It’s exciting for us, he skates well, he’s got great balance, he’s got vision and makes plays, and he’s such a well-rounded player. I just believe it’s only a matter of time, he’s already showed he can play in the American League. But now he’s got to have a great summer training and come with the mindset, that I’m going to make the Calgary Flames. I can’t say enough about the overall package Dillon Dube is.”
Thanks to his impressively well-round game, Dube has drawn plenty of comparisons to current Flame Mikael Backlund.
“They skate well, they’re strong on pucks, they win battles, they’re winners,” Conroy noted. “You feel comfortable when they’re on the ice that they’re not going to cheat the game. That’s one thing about both of them, they want to get points but they don’t cheat the game to get points.
“Coaches are going to love a guy like Dillon just like they love Backs because he doesn’t do things that hurt the team.”