Friday, August 7, 2009

And then there was one

Free agents. They come in 2 flavors: restricted and unrestricted. Your outgoing Unrestricted free agents are never really yours anyway. They belong to the universe - the NHL, other teams, the KHL, anywhere they can find a place to hang their skates and sticks.

But the Restricted Free Agents - your NY Rangers have rights to these guys. At least some rights. So, as we approach the season (and check out that counter at the very bottom of this page - counting off to the Rangers - Bruins preseason game) those RFA start falling. One by one.

It wasn't all that long ago that we had a bunch: Korpi, Cally, Nikky Z, Higgy, and Dubi. But today that list has thinned
Korpi's gone - traded away

Higgy's (Higgins) has signed

Cally's signed - before his arbitration hearing

Nikky Z's gone - as noted in great detail everywhere

Our UFAs, Mara, Morris and more - are long gone

So - looking at the roster there's just one open item. One free agent left to figure out.
And that one guy is Brandon Dubinsky.

Last year he made $633,000. He's a 23 year old centerman from Alaska with 2 years of NHL experience on the upswing of his career. He has worked hard and well for the Ranger Blue. He had 13 goals and 41 points last year. In the playoffs he gave us 4 points and was +1.

He wants to be here. He's not all that expensive - though he will need a decent raise.

So what's the problem?

Your Ranger brain trust - Sather, Torotrella, and other hockey minds - are still thinking. They still want a first line Center - and Torts has actually said exactly that - an odd admission for a club still trying to wheel and deal.
So with the salary cap and the possibility of a trade for another center - the Rangers are taking their time with Dubinsky. Because with a star Center on Gaborik's line - we could rock and roll with anybody.
But in the meantime - The Rangers wait. Dubinsky waits.
And we wait. The puck drops in 43 days.

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