How far will the Rangers get this season?

Dubinsky Arbitration Hearing Today
+ negotiations with Ryan Callahan on hold

Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky

THURSDAY: Dubinsky and the Rangers are heading to arbitration this morning and Brooks is reporting that the Rangers will argue Dubinsky should get $2.8 million while Dubinsky will shoot for $4.6 million.  That figure from the Rangers is as shockingly low as the reported $5 million asking price from Dubinsky's camp was high yesterday.  Again, the two sides generally shoot low or shoot high to come to a fair compromise in the middle, but based on everything we've heard it would be a big surprise if the ruling doesn't put Dubinsky's salary close to his $4.6 million request.  Curiously the Rangers chose to ask for a one-year deal rather than the two years they were entitled to, meaning Dubinsky could be an RFA once again next summer.  Perhaps the Blueshirts and Dubinsky have already agreed that if he has another big year the team will reward him with a handsome long-term deal.  That's a little tough to believe in this situation because it's hard to imagine Dubinsky having much faith in the Rangers regarding contract negotiations at this point, but like with many of the reports surrounding these negotiations, electing for a one-year deal is a confusing move.  We may not get word of the arbitrator's ruling until tomorrow or Monday, but we'll post updates as they come.

WEDNESDAY: Brooks believes that the money, not the years, is causing friction between the Rangers and Dubinsky in advance of tomorrow's arbitration hearing.  Brooks reports that Dubinsky is seeking at least $5 million while the Rangers are unwilling to advance past $4.5 million.  As valuable as Dubinsky is, there's no way he's worth $5 million.  The Rangers simply can't give him that much, if only for the simple reason that Ryan Callahan will use Dubinsky's new deal as a starting point for his own arbitration case next week.  It seems as though this is definitely heading to arbitration, so it makes sense for Dubinsky to ask for an unrealistically high number.  He knows he'll have to come down a bit and meet the Rangers in the middle, which should net him in the neighborhood of $4.5 million to $4.75 million.  Yesterday's report that Dubinsky wanted more years than the Rangers would give was puzzling and Brooks' report makes more sense.  Though this will be settled eventually, Dubinsky has seemed to have had a high opinion of his worth in recent years and may be difficult to retain as a UFA in two years.


TUESDAY: The NY Post’s Larry Brooks reports that the Rangers are closing in on a deal with UFA defenseman Steve Eminger.  It has long been suspected that the Blueshirts would add a veteran defenseman to fill in on the bottom pair and rotate in and out of the lineup and though intriguing options like Scott Hannan and Brent Sopel remain available, Eminger may be the best choice.  The 27-year-old played well for most of last year with the team, knows the Rangers’ system and has befriended many Blueshirts.  He isn’t the most talented player in the NHL, but in a supporting role Eminger has proven that he can succeed in New York.  Eminger is interested in a return to Broadway, so the delay in the signing may be linked to negotiations with RFAs Artem Anisimov, Mike Sauer, Brian Boyle, Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky over the last few weeks rather than haggling with Eminger over years or dollars.  With just Callahan and Dubinsky still un-signed, the Rangers have a more accurate image of their budget and may now feel comfortable committing to Eminger.  The team will have plenty of money to spare even if Callahan and Dubinsky get contracts at the high-end of speculated numbers, so Eminger can be added without the worry of being unable to afford either of the team’s two young forwards.  Sounds like we could see an agreement reached with Eminger this week.

- Dubinsky’s arbitration hearing is scheduled for Thursday but thus far there hasn’t been much reason to believe he’ll re-sign before heading to court.  Jesse Spector of the Daily News reports that the Blueshirts and Dubinsky are close financially, but Dubinsky wants a longer deal than the Rangers are offering.  This is curious because oftentimes it’s the player that wants to reach unrestricted free agency while still in his prime in order to cash in while the team tries to avoid letting the player hit the open market.  It’s possible that Dubinsky is seeking a Jeff Carter-like deal that would keep him in blue for the next decade, but that seems unlikely.  Perhaps Dubinsky wants something like five years while the Rangers are inclined to offer only three, but a squabble over something small like that would seem solvable.  Spector indicates that there is a major discrepancy over years which makes this confusing.  It’s also possible that the Rangers are prepared to pay Dubinsky now, but aren’t convinced of his long-term future with the team and are only willing to invest in the 25-year-old for two or three years.  If Rangers’ brass are thinking way ahead, perhaps they believe another left winger, like Chris Kreider, might be more deserving of top-line LW money down the road than Dubinsky will be.  That’s all speculation as we have nothing solid to go by, but it is very curious that the sides are close on money but that Dubinsky wants more years than the Rangers want to give.  If Dubinsky isn’t re-signed before his arbitration hearing, the Rangers will most likely elect for a two-year deal to be determined on Thursday, 

- The team’s other remaining RFA, Ryan Callahan, isn’t scheduled to go to arbitration until July 28.  Spector and Brooks both report that discussions between the Rangers and Callahan haven’t happened recently, but Callahan’s agent, Steve Bartlett, understands “there’s a pecking order;” that New York must deal with Dubinsky first before handling Callahan’s negotiations.  It’d be nice to have Callahan signed by now but there’s still no danger that he won’t be re-signed and it could still happen before his arbitration hearing.  Once Dubinsky’s contract is sorted out, possibly this week, things with Callahan could progress quickly.  

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Posted by Kevin Baumer | July 21, 2011 at 09:37 am

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