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Rangers Sign Dubinsky; Callahan Next?

The New York Rangers have come to an agreement with forward Brandon Dubinsky on a new four-year contract that will pay him $16.8 million.  The deal was announced early today, keeping both parties from settling on an arbitration decision.  The deal locks up the fourth of the five key free agents that the Rangers needed to sign, leaving only Ryan Callahan left to get a deal.  He should expect a contract with terms and dollars extremely close to those agreed to by Dubinsky.

This is an appropriate deal for the Rangers and for Dubinsky, and it is good that they were able to get the deal done without arbitration.  It has been reported by Larry Brooks that Dubinsky was seeking $4.6 million, while the Rangers were using $2.8 as their number on a one-year salary settlement in arbitration.  The final number would have been somewhere between those two, which would have been an underpayment for Brandon Dubinsky, who led the team in goals, assists, and points last season, and would likely have marked the beginning of the end of his time as a New York Ranger.  A one-year deal would have earned the Rangers an additional year of restricted free agency following the 2011-2012 season, but that just means this process would begin all over again.  It is nice to see that the Rangers and Dubinsky agree on his value to the team, and can enter the season with a significant player locked up for several years.

All of the attention shifts to Ryan Callahan now.  Both sides were waiting for the Dubinsky deal to get done, so they could have an idea of what Callahan would receive.  I doubt it will take very long for his deal to be completed now.  Once it is, the Rangers will have concluded one of their most successful offseasons in recent history.  They will have addressed to important needs in signing Brad Richards, and managed to keep their young, talented core intact.  Ranger fans should be very pleased and excited for next season.

A veteran defenseman was last on Sather’s list of needs, and it seems likely that he will be bringing back Steve Eminger to fill that role.  Eminger is more than capable of playing third pair minutes, and his contract will likely be vey tolerable.

The Rangers still have too many players for the twelve forward spots available.  Some decisions still need to be made on line combinations, most importantly what to do with Wolski.  He is likely going to be given every opportunity to show that he belongs on the top line along with Richards and Gaborik, as his $3.8 million cap hit makes him far too expensive for 3rd or 4th line duty, and Dubinsky should remain on the second line with Anisimov and Callahan.

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