Originally written on The Rangers Tribune  |  Last updated 2/19/12

NEW YORK - JANUARY 19: Jeff Halpern #11 of the Tampa Bay Lightning fights against Brandon Dubinsky #17 of the New York Rangers on January 19, 2010 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Brandon Dubinsky has been involved in a majority of the trade rumors that have surrounded the New York Rangers this season, which makes sense since his six goals and 25 points have not lived up to the $4.2 million he is now being paid per year. If the Blueshirts where to go after a Rick Nash or someone who brings along a hefty cap hit, there's a slim chance Dubi is sticking around to become that player's teammate. And the fact that Brandon is brought up in most rumors including the Rangers each season shows that GM Glen Sather clearly is not afraid to throw his name out there as trade bait. 

Dubinsky addressed this when talking to the Daily News yesterday after practice:

"I just got to laugh those off," Dubinsky said. "If it happens, that's part of the game. It would suck because obviously I love it here, but I am not putting too much stock into it."

The heads of the trade rumors - Brandon Dubinsky and Rick Nash - will be going head-to-head tonight at Madison Square Garden when the Blue Jackets meet the Rangers for the first time this season. For the past week or so the Jackets have had scouts and even their assistant general manager in attendance at Rangers home games looking on, and they also had scouts at the Connecticut Whale (AHL) game on Friday. 

But despite the rumor mill heating up, Dubinsky has not taken focus off his job here in New York, nor has he allowed it to worry him...

"It's not like I feel like I'm unwanted here, getting run out of town by any stretch of the imagination with all trade talk and stuff like that," said Dubinsky, who has just six goals in 53 games this season.

"Until the day (general manager Glen Sather) calls me and tells me I'm not here any more, I am going to come in here and work my butt off for these guys," he added.

In this position that's about the only thing you can do, but the bottom line is that Dubinsky's hard work this season has not given the Rangers what they need as far as offensive production goes. I wrote an article earlier in the week about how much of an impact Dubinsky's starting to score consistently would have on this hockey club, which just goes to show how important of a player he actually is to the organization.

And I'll even go as far as to say that we've seen some signs from Dubi as of late that suggest he is back on the right track. He is playing smarter than he did earlier in the year, but again, the goals haven't been coming as they did in 2010-11 and that's a concern. He was handed a raise that more than doubled his salary over the summer, and so far his play hasn't been anywhere near worth the money. 

If the Rangers make a deal for a player like Nash, I can almost promise you that Dubinsky will not be a Ranger after February 27. If they stay put with the current roster, though, that's a different story.

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