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Dube may not immediately benefit from Flames changes

Forward prospect, who grew up Calgary fan, happy with moves despite long list ahead of him on depth chart

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

CALGARY -- Dillion Dube is intrigued by the offseason changes made by the Calgary Flames, even if some of them could be a detriment to the 20-year-old forward prospect.

"For myself, even just as me, at this point I'm still a fan," said Dube, a second-round pick (No. 56) in the 2016 NHL Draft, from the Calgary suburb of Cochran, Alberta. "I haven't made the team or anything. It's kind of cool watching the process from a distance and see what's going on."

The Flames have been busy this offseason; they acquired forward Elias Lindholm and defenseman Noah Hanifin from the Carolina Hurricanes for defenseman Dougie Hamilton, forward Micheal Ferland and defense prospect Adam Fox on June 23

Calgary then bolstered its forward depth by signing free-agent forwards Derek Ryan and Austin Czarnik on July 1, and forward James Neal a day later. 

The moves certainly don't help Dube's case to make the Flames as a rookie in training camp, but haven't affected his spirits, either.

"From a team aspect, it's good if I'm thinking it's hard," said Dube, who captained Canada to the gold medal at the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship and had 84 points (38 goals, 46 assists) in 53 games with Kelowna of the Western Hockey League last season. "It means it's a really good team to try to make with the additions they've made. I was talking to my family and they see the trades and they're huge Flames fans, and so am I. I'm still from the outside looking in at this point, and kind of a little fan seeing James Neal and all the guys coming. 

"It's cool for that, but it definitely makes it a lot tougher for me. At a certain point, that's good. You want to be a part of a winning organization. From the outside, I'm really happy that happened."

Video: Looking at the Flames hiring Peters, adding Hanifin

The sudden logjam up front doesn't discourage Dube, who will begin his first full season of professional hockey after ending last season with four assists in six games with Stockton of the American Hockey League.

Nor should it, according to Flames assistant general manager Craig Conroy.

"He's got the perfect attitude, 'I'm going to do everything I possibly can and be in the best shape I possibly can and when I come to camp I'm going to make them have to keep me,' " Conroy said. "That's the attitude you want. I think he's got a ton of confidence. I think he's just going to try to ride that wave into main camp.

"Whatever he does to prepare himself to get ready for the camp … he's flying on all cylinders. He's going to be a guy to watch. He's going to be pushing to make that team. He has a goal in mind and he's not going to stop. He always has a good camp, and I expect this one to be his best."

That's Dube's plan, as well.

"I say to myself, 'You're going to have to beat somebody out at one point,'" he said. "That's what I have to try to do now. I'm done [playing] junior, so it's time to try to move up and earn a spot. If it doesn't come this year, then in a couple years. Eventually you have to take somebody's spot. They keep adding people. It makes it tougher. 

"But you eventually have to do it." 

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