Thursday, April 28, 2011

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Dubinsky Wants Contract Done Quickly; What Price Is Right For Him?

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The last time Brandon Dubinsky went through contract negotiations with the New York Rangers the process dragged into training camp and had him holding out while the team was getting ready for the 2009-10 season.  The two sides finally compromised on his current two-year deal that paid Dubinsky $1.85 million per season and expires this summer.  According to Peter Botte of the New York Daily News Dubinsky wants the negotiation process to play out differently this time.
"I'd like to get it done as quickly as possible," Dubinsky said Monday at the team's practice facility in Greenburgh. "I think the Rangers want me, and I want the Rangers, so at the end of the day we might as well not waste each other's time and draw it out as long as it was (two years ago). The sooner it's done, the sooner I can focus on putting all my energy and efforts to this organization."
Those words show intent to get a deal done early and not have it be a distraction like last time and should encourage Rangers fans.  The problem with that is it assumes the way Dubinsky and his representatives perceive his value in a similar way to what the Rangers’ organization does.  Clearly that was not the case last time.  Dubinsky has more leverage in the negotiations this time as he is coming off a breakout season in 2010-11 and has arbitration rights this time, which he did not during the prior negotiations. 

Dubinsky led the Rangers’ in goals and points by putting up a 24 goal, 30 assist, 54 point season.  To go with that he took a larger leadership role both on and off the ice.  Prior to this season the criticism of Dubinsky has been for his inconsistency to produce.  Even in his career year those questions still exist to a certain extent as he notched 38 points in the 47 games he played prior to the All-Star break, but only 16 in his final 30 games of the season.  During the playoffs, Dubinsky was absent for the first two games of the series, but played very well in the final three games against the Capitals.  Overall he scored twice while adding one assist and scoring the game-winning goal in Game 3.

The question left for the Rangers is whether they think that Dubinsky is the player who helped carry the team early in the season and looked like he could put up 30 goals, 70-80 points or will he continue to be a streaky player that ends the year in the 50-60 range.  The difference in contracts based on that assessment is massive.  You can bet that Dubinsky’s representatives will push for a contract in the range of a player who will put the higher end of those numbers while the Rangers will try to keep the number as low as possible.

One would expect Dubinsky’s people to point to the David Backes extension which pays him $4.5 million over the next 5 seasons as similar to what Brandon is worth.  Their career numbers and ratios are similar and so is the way the two play, but that kind of contract would be overpaying Dubinsky.  A big difference in the two deals is Backes would have been an unrestricted free agent this summer while Dubinsky has two years left to reach that mark.  Using those two years I would suspect that Dubinsky gets somewhere around $3.2 million for the next two years and $4.1 million for the following two years to come out with a four-year $14.6 million dollar deal with an average cap hit of $3.65 million.

There is no doubt that Dubinsky is a build block type player for this organization because of the numerous roles he plays for this team.  The question is what dollar value can be placed on those various things he does to get a contract that both sides can be happy with and how long it takes for that to happen.