Monday, July 20, 2009

Well What About Dubinsky?

Funny I was not sure if I was going to put this up because I feared sounding like a broken record but it appears others are asking the exact same question: What about Dubinsky?

Here we are almost a month after Brandon Dubinsky was qualified by the New York Rangers but there remains no deal in place. It makes one scratch their head because the Rangers themselves are the ones who make it sound like they need Dubinsky but can not get any deal done.

It becomes more frustrating when you see contracts being given out to everyone but Dubinsky. Trying to rationalize why Dubinsky still has not gotten signed gets harder to do with each passing day.

On one hand you have Sather talking about Dubinsky being a possible first line center as he did after Scott Gomez was traded. Yet you would have thought then that Rangers would have worked out a deal with Dubinsky.

Then you look at this past weekend as lost in the "Shut Up and Play" article written by Arthur Staples in Newsday was this quote that deserves a closer look.

"We're a little thin down the middle right now," Tortorella said. "I think Glen is still exploring things there."

So if the Rangers are thin at center then one would think getting Dubinsky signed is a lot more important than signing Lisin or Potter or anyone else for the matter. Call us crazy but having a first line center seems to be a bit on the important side.

If the Rangers are as thin as Tortorella is wanting Ranger fans to believe then getting Dubinsky into the the fold would be the smarter move to make. What is not the smarter move is not getting the deal done but continuing this non-movement.

There is no logic why this is still being drawn out as there should be no linkage to the Zherdev arbitration hearing outcome since Zherdev is a winger not a center. It is strange how Zherdev who appears to be going out of his way to leave the Rangers is drawing more attention than Dubinsky who at last check wants to remain a Ranger.

There is also another reason why to get Dubinsky under contract as Tortorella is right the Rangers are in fact thin at center. The Rangers right now have Dubinsky, Drury, Avery and Arnason as centers on the roster.

Avery is better suited for the wing as is Drury while Arnason has seen better days in his career which leave Dubinsky as the default 1st line center. Dubinsky is not the best playmaker to have but he has repeatedly shown a willingness to adapt his game to those he plays with.

Sather was right in a way when he said Dubinsky could become a 1st line center but that is not what is fueling our almost obsessive behavior in wanting to see this contract nonsense solved. Having watched Dubinsky before the Rangers drafted him my experience with him has taught me that he will have a very strong season next year.

His pattern is to show growth with each passing season, to take the lessons from the previous year and work on improving himself. Knowing Dubinsky as I do then 20 goal, 60 point season is a good prediction for his numbers.

Signing him makes sense on several levels as if as expected the Rangers part ways with Zherdev then Dubinsky can shift to scorer while the Rangers look for a playmaking forward. Not signing Dubinsky or even using him in a trade could be a mistake as again go back to letting Zherdev walk and the Rangers would need to replace 2 Top 6 forwards.

When you look at what is out there either as free agents or even reported trades then Dubinsky still is a much better option than say a Mike Comrie or a Brad Richards given his youth and room for growth. Not to mention that Dubinsky even if you pay him 1.5 million is a bargain compared to those other options.

At that price then a young experienced center actually becomes priceless.

Something to think about

Nothing against Stephen Valiquette but one team's possible mistake might be a move for the Rangers to jump on. The Minnesota Wild just signed former Islander goalie Wade Dubielewicz as they are gearing up for an arbitration hearing with last season's backup Josh Harding.

Harding who made a cap hit of 750,000 would be in my book a serious upgrade over Valiquette even if it costs the Rangers 1.5 million in salary. Harding at 25 is younger, and has shown he can handle a starting job all of which is something that Valiquette can not match.

Forget the won/loss record as the Wild have struggled the last couple of years but Harding in his short NHL career. What Harding can do at just 25 is given the Rangers a major insurance policy if they were to lose Henrik Lundqvist for a month or two.

Harding also would allow the Rangers to rest Lundqvist more during the season which come playoff time would pay huge dividends. With a Harding the Rangers could cut Lundqvist down to 50 regular season games during this really condensed season.

What price to pay for a Harding is the big question but if the Wild are facing losing him for nothing then the Rangers might be able to get Harding for one of the many defensive prospects the Rangers have.

The Rangers will not win a bidding war if Harding hits the open market which is why talking to the Wild now would be the better move. Get permission to work out a deal with Harding would be a win-win for both teams as the Wild would get something from a player they are about to possibly lose for nothing.

Getting a Harding could wind up being a save and a beauty of one to a Ranger season.

(Dubinsky and Valiquette courtesy of the Rangers)

1 comment:

Amos said...

I believe Harding wants to be traded so he can be a starter somewhere. That won't happen in NY, so I don't see him wanting to come here.