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2016-2017 Blue Jackets Player Reviews: Brandon Dubinsky

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Were the early season struggles a fluke, or a sign of things to come?

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Pittsburgh Penguins at Columbus Blue Jackets Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout the surprisingly successful first three months of the Columbus Blue Jackets season, a couple weaknesses stood out: Boone Jenner and Brandon Dubinsky. While Jenner rebounded with a strong second half, Dubi never quite found his form, at least as far as contributing on a consistent offensive basis.

Now his game picked up a little in the second half. After 3 goals and 12 assists in the 2016 portion of the season, he finished with 9 goals and 17 assists in 2017. His only points in the playoffs came in Game 3 (more on that later).

Even more bad news: Dubi had the second highest cap hit on the team this season, behind only Sergei Bobrovsky and Brandon Saad. Dubi has this $5.85M cap hit through the 2020-21 season. His career average is 14 goals and 27 assists per season. Are his defensive contributions and leadership enough to earn that salary?

I hate to be overly critical of Dubi. I credit him more than any other player with establishing the identity of this lineup. He came to Columbus in the Rick Nash trade and immediately became a vocal leader in the locker room. He plays with an intensity that you love if he’s on your side and hate if your team is playing him (ask a Pens fan).

I hope that this year is a fluke and that he can be more consistently productive over the next couple seasons. Even so, the Jackets will be playing above market value for a bottom 6 center (assuming Pierre-Luc Dubois or a trade introduces a more skilled center to the lineup)

Brandon Dubinsky 2016-17 Stats

Games played: 80
Goals: 12
Assists: 29
Points: 41
Time on ice: 17:54
Penalty Minutes: 91
Corsi For (even strength): 49.1%

Highlights

It wasn’t all bad. There were still highlights, as he tallied 5 game winning goals. This beauty earned an OT victory over the Penguins:

In Game 3 of the playoff series against those Penguins, Dubi was on the ice during the early flurry (no pun intended) of Columbus goals. After Pittsburgh came back and took the lead, it was Dubi that came through and tied it up to send the game to overtime: