Over the summer the New York Rangers re-signed 25-year-old forward Brandon Dubinsky to a new contract that would pay him $16.8 million over the next four years. At the time, Dubinsky was coming off a career season in which he led the entire Blueshirt squad in scoring with 24 goals and 54 points. In fourteen games so far this season, however, Dubinsky's production has been subpar, having only recorded six points - all assists. Yes, Dubinsky is goalless in fourteen games, which is not the way he would've liked to begin the first season under a new contract.
While he hasn't made consistent appearances on the scoresheet, Dubinsky has made his presence known in other areas, such as on defense. Dubinsky is not a one-dimensional player by any means, so he's found ways to contribute to the team despite not scoring. This is something he addressed when talking to Blueshirts United yesterday after practice...
I'm only human, so it's been tough mentally not getting those points and not contributing offensively. That being said I think I have matured as a player and as a professional, and I've got to continue to focus on the other parts of my game. For the most part I have done that. It's not like my game is completely in the toilet and I am turning pucks over and am on the ice for lots of goals against. I just have to stay confident and believe in myself.
Dubinsky has always been very confident in himself and plays with a certain swagger, so at no point will he ever get too low as far as his confidence goes. That attitude will assist him in breaking out of his slump sooner rather than later, and like he stated, he's made contributions in other ways than scoring.
But with the responsibility and value that Dubinsky holds on this team and has established ever since he began his career in New York, at some point he needs to start putting numbers up. His defensive efforts and intangibles have been great, but he's a player that is counted on to score and he needs to get that part of his game going soon.
"It would definitely feel a lot worse if we weren't winning hockey games," said Dubinsky. "There's no doubt about it. It's been great how different guys have been stepping up every night. Obviously I feel the pressure and understand that I have to step up and contribute and be that guy, but for me it's not about work ethic, it's more about getting a bounce and get something lucky to happen for me."
Dubinsky's work ethic, for the most part, has been fine, and he is right, he only needs to get that first goal in order to get going. But to me, it almost sounds like he is feeling sorry for himself. He could blame this and blame that, but in the end, when a player is slumping, there's no one to blame but himself. We're nearing the middle of November and he hasn't scored yet, so there's no time to sit around and wait for "a bounce".
I also think the fact that the Rangers have been winning consecutively has sort of overshadowed Dubinsky's slow start, but trust me, after the first loss that breaks the current streak, fans will be jumping down his throat. Winning or losing, he needs to start playing to his ability, otherwise he's going to pay the price with head coach John Tortorella, which already happened in Ottawa when he was dropped down to the third line. His repetitive penalty-taking hasn't helped him, either.
Dubinsky is considered part of the core of this New York Rangers team and he is a huge part of their secondary scoring. Do I think he is sometimes credited with more skill than he has? Yes, of course I do, but what we've seen from him thus far is unacceptable on a team that wants to be competitive. His performance this season has been, well, dubious.