Everyone assumes that Brandon Dubinsky will be the one ‘major’ piece to move if the Rangers acquire a high priced/elite forward through a means other than free agency. Non free agency acquisition likely means Rick Nash or Bobby Ryan. One of the major issues here is that Anaheim likely wants a cheaper piece than Dubinsky and Columbus wants a lot more in addition to Dubinsky.
The demands and desires of the clubs possessing the shiny new toys the Rangers crave mean there’s a chance that the Rangers might need to keep Dubinsky and move other pieces such as Derek Stepan or Artem Anisimov. Derek Stepan’s level of organisational security depends on how desperate Sather and co. are for the big time scorer they need. Only people internally truly know the answers.
Assume for a moment one (or even both of) Stepan and Anisimov have to be moved. This then leaves a glaring hole down the middle of what had become a pretty deep position for the Rangers. Enter Dubinsky. The home grown Alaskan had proven he can play the position effectively but got moved to the wing where eventually he ended up having the worst season of his still young career. Could a switch back rejuvenate his career with the club that most considered he was finished with?
Dubinsky cannot be a top line center, we know this. He hasn’t shown the consistency or finishing ability to play top line minutes long term. However, can he be reunited with Ryan Callahan and a young winger such as Chris Kreider or Carl Hagelin to form an effective complimentary unit? Absolutely and it may be a realistic option given the Rangers need to acquire elite skill.
Tortorella prefers Dubinsky at wing and he clearly doesn’t want to lose Derek Stepan. The problem is you can’t have everything in life and sometimes you have to give to get. How free agency plays out could dramatically alter the makeup of not just the Rangers top line (and go-to scorers) but could also influence their center position. Maybe that means Brandon Dubinsky under center.