Brandon Dubinsky hasn’t even participated in training camp yet and he’s already in John Tortarella’s doghouse. That’s the problem – he hasn’t been there. The former restricted free agent held himself out of camp last week because he did not reach a contract extension with the Rangers. The prolonged negotiations left fans and his Head Coach to wonder if he was even worth it.
Alas, on Saturday, Dubinsky and the Rangers reached a 2 year deal worth $3.7 million. A modest compromise for a resolution that took way too long to come to.
On any other team in the league, Dubinsky would be a good second line centerman with lots of potential. However, on the Rangers, Dubinsky immediately jumps in as their number one center and must prove himself this year to justify his holdout.
As the first line center for the Rangers, Dubinsky must improve on his 41 point 2008-2009 campaign. With the opportunity, he should. He is likely to have Marian Gaborik and Vaclav Prospal on his wings, who can both put the puck in the net and bring as much energy as Dubinsky does. The key is Gaborik. He mustRyan Getzlaf having hair before he is 30.
stay healthy. However, a healthy Gaborik is as likely as
Gaborik has already missed time from training camp. Compound that with Dubinsky’s 8 day hold out, and that puts the Rangers on page 1, while every other team in the league is already at page 20.
Gaborik is a great offensive player that can definitely help boost Dubinsky’s numbers. There is no denying that. However, if when Gaborik gets hurt, who will the Rangers turn to for scoring? Dubinsky has not proven he can carry a team. Prospal isn’t the type to be the go-to guy. Chris Drury can lead a team in the locker room, but his numbers have taken a drastic hit since coming to New York. Could Tortorella rely on the AHL standout and NHL rookie, Artem Ansimov, for consistent point production? It is a scary picture in New York without Gaborik. They were a terrible offensive team last year, but could be even worse this year.
Speaking of Ansimov, he has impressed in the preseason. If Dubinsky falters out of the gate, Tortorella will not hesitate to give this kid an opportunity. If you draft Dubinsky, be sure to add Ansimov to your watch list.
Now that Dubinsky is in camp and with his team, he has to come in with a chip on his shoulder. He has a lot of work to do, a lot to prove and a lot of responsibility to take on. How will he handle all of this? The Rangers’ season starts October 2nd against the defending champs. We shall see.
Taking all of this information into consideration, I fearlessly forecast 20 goals, 35 assists for 55 points. (THN predicts – 17/32/59). Dubinsky still has potential to breakout this year, but don’t overate him. He has the energy on the ice, the motivation behind the bench and the offensive creativity to play with Gaborik. A bright future is ahead for Dubinsky, but needs some offensive help.
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