Dube Looking Strong in Start to Big Season
Dillon Dube is one of those players in the age range that Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter has been talking about.
The key to their success after losing two 40-goal scorers — according to Sutter — lies with the 23 to 29-year-olds taking steps forward. For Dube, that means starting the season the way he finished the last one. After bouncing around the lineup during the first half of the year, he found a groove. Half of his 18 goals came in the month of April alone.
This year, opportunity knocks. Starting the home opener alongside newcomer Nazem Kadri and longtime buddy Andrew Mangiapane, Dube looks ready to take advantage.
Sutter said that trio was the best the Calgary Flames iced during Thursday’s season-opening win over the Colorado Avalanche.
“Thought they had a big effort every shift,” Sutter said. “When they were together, when we were able to get our lines in order, I thought they were clearly our best line.”
Dube got on the board early this season with a shorthanded goal in the second period that gave the Flames their first lead in the 5-3 win.
Mangiapane and Dube battled along the boards to spring the puck loose. Dube scooped it up, evicted it from the linesman’s limbs along the boards, and raced in on a two-on-one with Mangiapane.
Looking off the 35-goal scorer to his right, the 24-year-old confidently snapped a rocket over the pad of Pavel Francouz.
“Our mentality as a team is shoot first. He’s been here with that mindset for a couple of years,” Sutter said when asked if a younger Dube might have tried the pass instead. “He’s coming off a good year. His best year, goal-wise. Now you get more opportunities; then he should get a few more goals.”
Playing with Kadri and Mangiapane could mean a significant jump. Coined the DNA line by local radio folks, the trio does share some of the same traits.
Tenacity on pucks, speed and strength to come away on the positive side of most puck battles.
“Dillon’s put a little weight or muscle on, whatever you want to call it,” Sutter said of the Flames’ fittest player in camp. “We needed him to be a little firmer in battles. Play a little bigger this year in order to take a bigger role.
“I think he’s shown that in spurts in training camp. He played a good game tonight.”
In Sutter speak, that’s seriously high praise.