Calgary Flames

Examining the merits on whether the Calgary Flames should extend Dillon Dube

The focus this offseason has mainly revolved around the Calgary Flames’ 2024 unrestricted free agent class. Their futures with the Flames are in question and we wait to see which of the six UFAs extend, walk on July 1 next year, or are traded within the next calendar year. On top of it all, there is also a restricted free agent who can extend this summer: soon to be 25 year-old Dillon Dube.

Since being drafted in the second round in 2016, Dube has 120 points in 282 games with the Flames. He has played every forward position, in every area in the forward group. His point totals have improved year after year, but he is still inconsistent.

Cloudy uncertainty while captaining Team Canada

No matter how you look at it, it can not be left unsaid about Dube: he was the captain of the 2018 Canada World Junior team. Dube’s agent, Dave Cowan, released the following statement regarding the investigation in September last year:

“Dillon did not engage in any wrongdoing, and he co-operated fully with the independent London Police Service investigation in 2018, through which all players were then cleared of any wrongdoing.”

TSN’s Rick Westhead noted the following:

Assuming Dube’s agent is truthful in the statement that Dube did not partake in any wrongdoing, he should be cleared to join the Flames for the 2023–24. If not, he should be expelled by the Calgary Flames and the National Hockey League.

Flames engaged in extension talks with Dube

As Ryan Pike notes above, Flames GM Craig Conroy was on Sportsnet960 on Monday morning. Conroy noted that the team has had talks on a new contract for Dube.

Should the Flames extend Dube this summer, or wait? Dube’s qualifying offer next summer is slotted in at $2.4M.

Extending Dube this summer

As noted before, Dube’s point totals have increased year after year. He is coming off a career-high 18 goals and 45 points in 82 games last season. Given that he is only about to turn 25, there is still room for him to grow and increase these point totals further. The Flames like versatile players who can play several forward positions. Dube has played all three in his time in Calgary, although he profiles better as a winger. Dube is also one of the faster players on the Flames, which is an area they desperately need to improve. Losing him would only make them weaker in the speed department.

In the NHL, we are seeing a trend of teams gambling on long-term extensions for their young players, so they have good contracts in their primes. The New Jersey Devils now have Jack Hughes at a cap hit of $8M AAV for the next seven years because they gave him an extension early. Now, I don’t think Dube is the type of player you invest in early, as he doesn’t have star potential. But, there is a trend in locking up younger players, and it worked well for Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin’s extensions after their trade to Calgary. Again, I don’t think Dube is close to that level.

Given the amount of players that are wanting out of Calgary in recent years, it would be good PR to extend Dube, who was raised in Cochrane.

Using Dube’s performance as an argument for waiting

Maybe the Flames should be patient in their contract talks. Let’s look at Dube’s Isolated 5v5 Impact, courtesy of Dube struggled at 5v5, with a tragic limited number of shot attempts from the right side of the ice or net front with him on the ice. In the defensive end, it was a similar story, as the opposition was able to generate a ton of shot quantity from the net-front and slot areas. It’s not very often a player has their best statistical season and their worst analytical season at the same time, but that’s what happened last year for Dube.

Now onto a With-or-Without-You chart to demonstrate the team’s performance with and without Dube. As demonstrated below, most players were more successful without Dube at 5v5 (outlined in red). With Dube on the ice, most players were noticeably worse, especially Noah Hanifin and Andrew Mangiapane.

Next, let’s look at Dube’s metrics last season, courtesy of Note: on team rank, the Flames have 22 players who played more than 20 games a season. So, Dube’s rank is out of 22.

Analytical categoryCF%SCF%HDCF%xGF%
Dillon Dube 2022–23 metrics (5v5 SVA)55.28%50.39%45.91%50.19%
Flames rank (min. 20 games played)18th18th22nd20th

Note: Dube had a PDO of 0.977, which ranked 12th on the Flames. One could argue he got lucky compared to his teammates, which might be an influence in his point total increase.

Verdict: Do not extend Dillon Dube this offseason

The Flames have an entire year before they need to extend Dube, so I think they should use it. Who knows what the roster is going to look like. Maybe Dube takes off next year and costs the Flames more on an AAV. Or maybe he regresses a bit and he’s cheaper. It’s a bit of a gamble, but I think the Flames should hold.

Given Dube’s underlying numbers, I would argue he was a product of his linemates. Investing into what will likely be a medium to long-term extension for Dube after last season would be a mistake. He is still very inconsistent, and often goes on pointless streaks. I think looking at the trade market makes more sense than pursuing an extension, given that the Flames are likely going to retool here.

In any case, the Flames’ decision on Dube should wait until the results of the 2018 WJC investigation results are released.

Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire

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