Columbus Blue Jackets center Brandon Dubinsky didn’t have the season he, or we, hoped he would. In fact, it might be easier to ask, “What didn’t go wrong with Dubinsky in 2017-18?”
A quick recap: Missed some camp after wrist surgery, lost his alternate captaincy early in the season, played poorly, broke his face in a fight, got sent home for cryptic “personal problems” in January (which local media continue to cagily dance around), more poor play, healthy scratched twice, zero playoff points and saw drastically reduced ice time in a first-round exit.
Luckily for the Blue Jackets, Pierre-Luc Dubois turned in an incredible rookie year and was able to thrive in the middle of the top line. The play of Dubois and Alexander Wennberg meant that the Blue Jackets were able to qualify for the playoffs despite their 31-year-old, $5.85 million center playing 15:21 a night in the bottom six.
After Washington dumped Columbus in six games, Dubinsky pointed to last summer’s wrist surgery and missing months of adequate training in preparation for the season. That’s a fair point, and there’s no way to know how he would’ve played with a full offseason of work. Still, losing the “A” and a murky road trip dismissal aren’t great signs for a guy merely struggling on the ice.
Dubinsky makes $5.85 million dollars next season and in 2020-21. He turned 32 on April 29 and, weirdly, does not plan on getting younger. He’ll likely be back in October and will at least have ample time to train. It was painful to watch a guy who delivered one of the most exciting goals in franchise history stink it up on the regular. At the very least, it’ll be hard to replicate 2017-18.
Brandon Dubinsky 2017-18 Stats
Games played: 62
Time on ice: 15:21
Penalty Minutes: 33
Corsi For (even strength): 47.4%
Personally, it’s Dubinsky telling an annoying Montreal photographer to sit and spin, but it’s probably December 1 against Anaheim. He picked up a goal and an assist in a home win over the Ducks, marking his only multi-point performance of the season.
Take your pick, but it’s almost certainly getting in a meaningless fight with Zach Kassian and breaking an orbital bone in the dying minutes of a 7-2 butt-kicking against the Oilers. Dubinsky can get under the skin of opposing players like few others, but sometimes he’s even better at doing it to his own fans and team.
How would you grade Brandon Dubinsky’s 2017-18 season?
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