Originally posted on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 12/7/11

With the Rangers winning 12 out of their last 15 games, and five straight prior to Monday's loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, I felt that it would be out of place to write an article centered around negativity. But with the fan base in a minor state of depression following the team's third loss in the past month, I had to bring up an issue that's grown over the past few weeks and has certainly been a topic of discussion in the world of Rangers hockey. 

Last season, Brandon Dubinsky led the Rangers in scoring at the end of an eventful and somewhat successful year, and was a top offensive threat for the club while in the lineup. Through 24 games played this season, however, Dubinsky has only recorded one goal and 10 assists and has recently been demoted to the fourth line where he is getting limited minutes. It's incredible the difference one season can make, especially after just receiving a big-time raise during the offseason. 

Dubinsky's performance to this point has not been worth the $4.2 million/year contract he was handed over the summer. In fact, his numbers are not even close to being considered getting "bang for your buck" right now, which isn't a good thing for him with many other players emerging as contributors this season, most of which are on the younger side. 

Brandon helped make this team's heart pump last season, but this year he has been nothing but a clotted vein that's cutting off offensive circulation. And it's not like his only problem is lack of scoring, because it's not. Dubinsky looks lost out on the ice, and that is a tremendous pet peeve of head coach John Tortorella's. At least when he was struggling early on in October, he was still making a big difference defensively and on the forecheck. Lately he hasn't even been doing that. 

On Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Dubinsky received just under 10 minutes of ice time. Monday against the Leafs, he played 14:23, but that was mostly made up of special teams play. At even strength, he barely saw the ice, especially in the third period when the Rangers were trying to tie a one-goal game. 

What does that say about Dubinsky's role on this team and what his future may hold? Well, I'll tell you one thing; he's not in a good position right now. 

Offensively, you obviously have the core three in Marian Gaborik, Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan. Then you have secondary scoring from Artem Anisimov, Derek Stepan and now even rookie Carl Hagelin. Hell, even Ryan McDonagh and Dan Girardi can qualify as secondary scoring with such high numbers as defensemen. 

Where does Dubinsky fit in there? Nowhere, which means he is slowly but surely withdrawing himself from the team's core - something everyone probably thought was impossible following a breakout season last year. Tortorella's losing trust in him, the fans are turning on him and right now I don't even think Dubi has very much faith in himself. 

With other players filling in Dubinsky't spot on the top six just fine, it's become quite clear that unlike last season, the Rangers can be a successful squad without Dubinsky. He isn't contributing much; at least not enough for a player making $4.2 million or to oust anyone on the first two lines. He's in a tough predicament right now and has no one to blame but himself. 

I don't recall seeing Dubinsky's name in the list of Rangers' untouchables last week when the Bobby Ryan rumors surfaced....

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