Prospect of Interest: The 411 on Dillon Dube

General managers from around the NHL comment on the importance of the 2016 NHL Draft.

If you prefer small, fast, shifty players then you’ll probably like it if your team drafts Dillon Dube. Despite being undersized, Dube has been a scorer at every level, from his bantam and midget AAA days with the Notre Dame program in Saskatchewan to the past two seasons in the WHL with the Kelowna Rockets.

Dube dropped six spots in Central Scouting’s final rankings for North American players and is on the first round/second round border on many mock drafts. He’s even been compared to Nick Merkley, his teammate with the Rockets who is also an undersized scorer. Merkley was taken 30th overall by the Arizona Coyotes in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Here’s what you need to know about Dillon Dube.

Age on June 24: 17
From: Golden, B.C.
Current Team: Kelowna Rockets
Position: Centre
Shoots: Left
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 182 pounds
NHL Central Scouting Rank (North American): 41

Jeff Marek’s Take: A smaller/slight player with really good speed. Question is – can he produce at the pro level?

Dube was drafted 21st overall by the Rockets in the 2013 WHL Bantam draft and broke into the league as a 16-year-old. Last year, he missed the first few months of his rookie WHL season with two separate injuries (one of which kept him out of the U17 Challenge), but he still managed to finished fifth in rookie goal scoring with 17. Overall, he managed 27 points in 47 games.

And he wasn’t done there. Dube followed up with a strong showing in the 2015 playoffs for a player as young as he was, posting five goals and 11 points in 18 games. The Rockets won the WHL championship, so Dube even got some valuable experience at the Memorial Cup, where the Rockets lost in the final to the Oshawa Generals.

At the Memorial Cup, Dube only managed one point and 12 penalty minutes in five games. But it’s hard to expect a 16-year-old to dominate at that tournament. More than anything, it was a great way for a rookie to enter the league and that he played so deep into the major junior season at such a high level.

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Dube increased his scoring from his rookie to sophomore seasons, finishing with 26 goals and 66 points in 65 games. But this didn’t stop him from falling in the rankings, although it wasn’t a significant drop.

In Damien Cox’s first draft rankings of the season back in October, Dube was ranked 25th, ahead of late-riser Logan Brown.

But by the end of the year, Dube had fallen to honourable mention status in Cox’s rankings.

That’s not the only place he fell. Dube ranked 35th among North American skaters on Central Scouting’s mid-term list and 41st in the final rankings.

What could be the cause of this? Dube was one of the Rockets’ best players this season and even finished the regular season strong with nine points in his last six games. But in the playoffs, he was actually less productive than he was as a 16-year-old rookie, posting just seven points in 18 games.

Another factor could be his small stature. It wouldn’t be the first time a player loses ground because of his size…

Dube was an important player on Kelowna’s power play this season, but he was also terrific at even strength.

Check out this chart that tracks the total of even strength points scored by draft eligible players from the WHL. Dube leads the way, but also consider that if you take out all his secondary assists, he’d still rank fifth.

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It’s also worth noting that, with a July birthday, Dube will still be 17 on draft day and therefore among the younger players in his draft class, which makes his production all the more impressive.

Back in August of 2015, Dube helped Canada to a gold medal at the Ivan Hlinka tournament, which is a fairly good place to see some upcoming draft prospects before their seasons start.

Dube was top-six in Canadian scoring with three points in four games, tying fellow 2016 NHL Draft prospects Tyson Jost, Sam Steel and Pierre-Luc Dubois. He recorded an assist in the final game.

Dube didn’t record a point at the Top Prospects game, but he was named an alternate captain for Don Cherry’s team.

At the on-ice skills testing, he was very noticeable at the agility drill, which you can see below.

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