The Columbus Blue Jackets have announced the re-signing of forward Brandon Dubinsky to a six-year deal worth an average cap hit of $5.85 million, which also includes no-move and no-trade clauses.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a significant raise for Dubinsky, who has a year at $4.65 million left on his current deal, at a cap hit of $4.2 million. He finished third on the Blue Jackets in scoring with 50 points (his second-highest career total). Of the Blues Jackets who played more than 62 regular-season games last season, Dubinsky was second in Corsi-for percentage (52.2%). He’s a versatile, physical two-way forward who’s emerged as a leader on the Blue Jackets since joining them two years ago in the Rick Nash trade.
Given both the term and the dollars of this deal, critics will claim the Jackets overpaid nearly $6 million annually on a guy who would be a second-line forward on a better team. This deal will expire when Dubinsky turns 35. Given his style of play, he might not be as good a player in the final three years of the deal as he currently is.
Still, it was necessary for the Jackets to retain a key part of their roster beyond next season, as Dubinsky would have been eligible for UFA status. Despite the Jackets significant improvement over the past two years, they’re still at a delicate stage. They must prove themselves a fan base which grew jaded following years of mediocrity in which they watched the club’s best players leave via free agency or trade. This signing sends a message the Blue Jackets are building toward Stanley Cup contention.