No, it isn’t Carl Hagelin, although that’s a pretty big issue for Dubinsky right now. Dubinsky is clearly the forgotten man in the Rangers offense right now and his biggest problem this season is consistency.
Anyone who watched the Islanders game will have seen Dubinsky was strong on the puck and his line generated plenty of chances all round. Dubinsky then followed it up with a game against Carolina where he was a complete non-factor and ended up with the third least ice time among forwards bettering only fourth line stalwarts Mike Rupp and John Mitchell (who still managed to make some good plays in his ice time).
These two games – against cellar dwellers no less – sum up Dubinsky’s year. Yes you can point to the emergence of Carl Hagelin, who has provided effort, production, speed and a cheap solution to the left wing spot. And yes, you can say Dubinsky hasn’t finished enough of the chances that have come his way – you’ll not find disagreement on any of this.
However, trust is earned with Tortorella and the coach simply cannot rely on the well paid Dubinsky to back up one good game with another. Dubinsky has twelve regular season games and the playoffs to save his Rangers career. He certainly won’t be a hurdle for Chris Kreider to jump given the organisation’s lust for the BC winger to be in NY as soon as possible. He’s well behind the eight ball if it’s a Hagelin vs. Dubinsky debate. And don’t even get started on a Nash/insert free agent name vs. Dubinsky debate.
Dubi doesn’t need to score at a crazy rate to finish the season to have a chance to remain a Ranger, but he does need to show something that has often eluded him his entire Ranger career – consistency. Note: there’s a big difference between consistency and streaky. If Dubinsky can show he can be counted on to be a factor for the remainder of the season, then both he and the franchise will benefit from it. It may be Dubinsky’s last chance to remain a Ranger.