Brandon Dubinsky: Be Careful What You Wish for

April 26, 2010, by

Since the moment Brandon Dubinsky skated as a rookie with Jaromir Jagr (and before that) hopes and expectations have followed him. Certain player’s progressions are directly linked with their club’s futures and Dubinsky is one such player. With the problems at centre that have plagued the Rangers (for several seasons) Dubinsky was/perhaps still is expected to be an answer. With Tortorella seeing his future at Left wing however Dubinsky’s future is uncertain, especially as many Rangers fans are unsatisfied with the Alaskan’s play/development thus far. Failure to develop as hoped? Lets see.

From an offensive point of view I often see Dubinsky in the same realm as Travis Zajac. Both are around 24, and both enjoyed solid yet unspectacular starts to their NHL careers. Their paths are similar; Zajac began with seasons of 42 and 34 points and 17 and 14 goals. Dubinsky began with 40 and 41 points and 14 and 13 goals.  

It was in his third season that Zajac took off. In 08/09 Zajac hit 20 goals for the first time and reached 62 points while being excellent both ends of the ice.  Dubi’s third year lagged behind slightly and he ended it with the same 20 goals but 44 points. However with frustration aired by Rangers fans I say be careful what you wish for. Dubi’s stats may not have taken the same leap, and his play was streaky however consider the fact the Alaskan has shown glimpses of clutch. Of his 47 career goals 12 are game winners. 25% is a mighty impressive figure. Throw into the mix that this year Dubi missed 13 games and has been lumbered on a low scoring team and his year could (would?) have projected to over 50 points easily.

Dubinsky is a rarity in the NY franchise. He has a nice blend of size and skill, is willing to use both and is a young player with room to develop. Whether his future lies at center or wing, that’s for the coaches to decide, but the fans need to accept what we have is something a lot of teams would like. Consistency didn’t come to players like Zajac until years 3 and 4, while Jeff Carter also didn’t hit the heady heights until he burst out in year 4 and (no offence Aaron) they didn’t have to play stretches with offensively limited line mates such as Aaron Voros.  You want development? a +9 rating on a low scoring, non playoff team is not bad at all. His shooting percentage in the past 2 years has gone from 8.9% to 12%. Yes Dubi needs to show more consistency but then so does Tortorella with his line combinations, no?

For one more year Dubinsky is a cap bargain. He is also a player the Rangers should build around. If he only ‘maxes out’ as a 50-55 point player that’s not a bad core part, a second line staple. Is it? Be careful what you wish for Rangers fans. You want home grown? This is home grown. Traded away, he may just get replaced by a player like Ales Kotalik……..

Categories : Analysis, Players


  1. Bettman's Nightmare says:

    Don’t forget that Travis Zajac has basically been attached to Zach Parise’s hip, a luxury Dubinsky has never really had.

    • jurgenno88 says:

      agreed. I just think Dubinsky gets too much of a raw deal at times. Its like he’s not appreciated because he’s not a big name accquisition. I’m a soccer fan (Bayern Munich) and big teams like them, the fans almost forget about the young players who are coming through. Its harder to come through the ranks at clubs like that.
      I genuinely feel if we can get Dubi a good scorer as a linemate and some consistency with his line he take the next step.
      He does need to show some more consistency but he’s still young.

  2. becky says:

    I wonder how he would do on a line with Anisimov – for some reason I feel like it would be an explosive, fun young line to watch

    • jurgenno88 says:

      Well i think the mix would work, in theory, quite well. You’ve got the straight line play of Dubinsky and the playmaking, 2 way play of AA.
      I think if you throw Avery on the line it’d be a nice line. Avery and Dubinsky are certainly physical enough that people wouldnt take liberties with AA and all 3 can finish and bring unique skill sets to the line. It also has rooms to develop long term.

      I just hope Torts doesnt make career suicide and jetison Avery from the team because of an inconsistent year. Some people think Avery is in danger on the side and i think thats terible news.

      • becky says:

        if Aves goes, they can throw Cally on that line. they’re all young and Cally will give the rough play that Avery can provide as well…

        • jurgenno88 says:

          Becky, i really like Callahan but we need both. The final game against Philly showed how poor our forecheck was without them. Avery is essential to this team both for his character and his play. He actually has a personality and needs to be used more extensively by Torts. Why he never got time on Gaborik’s line beats me.

          • Dave says:

            Once Avery was given free reign by the coaching staff (and the officials eased up), he showed what he can do. The guy has skill, he just needs to show it consistently. Kind of like Dubinsky. Kind of like the rest of the team.

            • jurgenno88 says:

              agreed…. and a large part needs to be done by the coaching staff. Let Avery be Avery and that may help the teams consistency

  3. Dave says:

    I don’t know, I’m still not completely sold on Dubinsky. He really needs to show something next year, or else I think he should be jettisoned. If he doesn’t show he can put up 20-40-60, then he’s just another third liner.

    • jurgenno88 says:

      but Dave… if you jetison a homegrown player who scores 20 goals a season whats the alternative? Start all over again and repeat the process?
      If he becomes too expensive then yes, look for a better alternative but with a suitable cap hit you dont rid yourself of a known quantity. Our system doesnt have many 20 goal NHL forwards that can hit and play. If he shows a little more consistency then we’re onto a good thing. He’s just about to turn 24 so he’s very young and his shot totals are (over a 82 game period) increasing, his accuracy has, his effectivity has. So there are signs of development.

      Here’s a question for you; what did you expect from him after his 3rd full season? Considering factors such as playing on a low scoring team, line inconsistencies…

      • Dave says:

        I say jettison him because he isn’t going to be a $2 million center much longer. Clearly it all depends on price, but if he asks for more and he’s not producing, I say cut him loose.

        Going into the season, I expected 20 goals and 60 points. But considering how the year went, I’m not all that surprised he had the year he had.

        He needs to turn it up next year though, and show that he can be a second line player.

        • jurgenno88 says:

          Hopefully next year he can justify us committing to him long term and for more money. He has the ability to score 65-70 points i think. Whether he reaches that is obviously another matter.

  4. Brian says:

    I have to weigh in. Dubi’s a solid core player, who brings a power forward north/south game. He plays with passion. Sticks up for his team mates. He’s everything and then some. It would be absolutely stupid to give up on such a young & talented player.

  5. Nathan says:

    Everyone harps on the fact that he still hasn’t broken the 50 point mark, but he missed 13 games last year too. He had a great plus minus, is a key penalty killer, and is clutch (5 GWG). He also shows up when it counts in the playoffs. I think 70 points may be asking a bit much, but i could see him putting up 20 goals and 60 points in a second line centre role. Personally, I think putting him on the wing is stupid, he’s a prototypical 2nd line centre and the kind of player many teams covet. Losing him would not be good.