#21: Dillon Dube
Team: Kelowna Rockets (WHL)
Draft: 2016 #56th Overall
Last Year: #22
While it is tough to know how much he will contribute should he get there, Dillon Dube seems close to a lock for me to make it to the NHL one day. His versatility is almost unparalleled among the Calgary Flames prospect ranks, which is why he comes in at #18 on our Top 25 Under 25.
After being drafted by the Flames in the second round of 2016, Dube had a very solid season wherever he played. He was one of the best forwards at rookie camp in Penticton.
Despite missing the start of his WHL season due to injury, Hockey Canada thought so highly of Dube that they added him to their team for the World Junior Championship. While Dube is relied upon as a scorer for the Rockets, with Canada, he played on the 4th line in an energy/shutdown role and did a tremendous job being tasked with that. He finished the tournament with 3 assists in 7 games, but his work preventing the opposition from scoring was quite valuable.
He also had a big leap forward in his production in the WHL this year. In his draft season he had 66 points in 65 regular season games, followed by just 7 in 18 playoff games. This year, he managed to post 55 points in just 40 games and then had a strong playoff where he posted 21 points in 17 games. That is some solid growth, exactly what you want to see in your recently drafted prospects.
As I opened with, it is pretty easy to feel confident about Dube's chances of making it to the NHL one day. The guy can do so many different things. He plays both centre and left wing. When he plays in Kelowna, he is one of their leading offensive players. At the World Junior Championship he excelled in a shutdown role. While he is just under six feet tall, he plays a gritty game and is constantly hustling around the ice. Even if he is not able to translate his offensive abilities to the NHL, he has a lot of attributes that could make him a very effective bottom-six forward.
Dube just turned 19 a couple of weeks ago, so he will be heading back to Kelowna for his final junior season. It would be pretty shocking if he did not make a return to Canada's World Junior Team, given how they relied upon him last year and the fact there will not be many other returning players available.
Hopefully he experiences another season of growth and can have a nice transition to the pro ranks the following season. The second rounder is a player to watch in the seasons to come.