Brandon Dubinsky hasn’t even participated in training camp yet and he’s already in John Tortarella’s doghouse. The problem is, he hasn’t been there to see what that feels like first hand.
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 two year deal worth $3.7 million. A modest compromise for a resolution that took way too long to resolve.
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 No. 1 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 must stay healthy. However, a healthy Gaborik is as likely as Ryan Getzlaf having hair before he is 30.
Gaborik has already missed time from training camp. Compound that with Dubinsky’s eight day holdout, and that puts the Rangers on page one, while every other team in the league is usually stuck on 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. So we shall see.
Taking all of this information into consideration, I fearlessly forecast 20 goals, 35 assists for 55 points. Dubinsky still has potential to breakout this year, but don’t overrate him. A bright future is ahead for Dubinsky, but needs some offensive help.
50MC’s Fearless Fantasy Forecasts: