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Dubinsky Signs, Rangers Make First Round of Roster Cuts

After contract disputes that lasted the entire summer, the Rangers have finally reached terms with Brandon Dubinsky. The 23-year-old center has signed a 2-year deal worth $3.7 million.

Dubinsky had a great rookie season from 2007-2008 in which he centered a line with Jaromir Jagr and contributed 14 goals and 26 assists. Duby then failed to build off his rookie campaign last season without a superstar alongside him and scored 13 goals and added 28 assists. This year, the Alaska native should be centering Marian Gaborik on the New York first line and the combination could be lethal to opponents.

The Blueshirt lineup is still far from figured out, but a little clearer after this week's first roster cuts. Most of the players sent to Hartford or the juniors were expected to end up there, but there were a few surprises. The Rangers sent down Michael Sauer, who was in contention for one of the team's vacant defenseman positions, in their first set of cuts. Sauer was called up from Hartford for a few games last year, and Tortorella was not happy with what he saw and sent him right back down. The hard-hitting defenseman clearly seems to be in the doghouse.

New York also sent down goalie Miika Wiikman fairly early on. Although Henrik Lundqvist and Stephen Valiquette are locks behind the Rangers net, the team kept Matt Zaba and Chad Johnson around to share the preseason work load. The Blueshirts seem high on Johnson, whom they traded a 5th round pick this summer to Pittsburgh to acquire, as they have given him a lot of ice time. Johnson is a recent graduate from University of Alaska-Fairbanks where he was a Hobey Baker Award finalist last season. Inversely, the Rangers seem to be low on Wiikman, who did not even appear in a preseason game before being cut. Wiikman should backup/split time with Zaba in Hartford, and Johnson should start in AA Charlotte where he can get many starts and acclimate to the professional game.

There are five members of the organization who were semi-cut this week. Corey Locke, Dane Byers, Tyler Arnason, Jordan Owens, and Patrick Rissmiller will continue camp in Hartford but have technically not been sent down to the Wolf Pack. If these players were sent down, they would have had to pass through waivers, and New York is not looking to get involved with that dangerous process just yet.

The move was designed to give Locke, Byers, Arnason, Owens, and Rissmiller some ice time without losing them but they still each may have a chance to play a preseason game or two with the big club. Byers is the only one who still has a legitimate chance of making the team. He was very impressive in Hartford's playoff ran last year after missing most of the regular season with injuries, and is very versatile. Byers is speedy and physical and can help the Blueshirts in a 4th- line/penalty-killing role similar to the one that the departed Fredrik Sjostrom occupied last season.

Now that Dubinsky has signed, centers Locke and Arnason have virtually no shot at roster spots. These two veterans should provide depth in Hartford for the Rangers. Owens is a fast winger with a lot of talent and needs another year with the Wolf Pack to further develop his skills before he is NHL ready. Rissmiller was an important member of the Pack last year after being sent down from New York, and should continue that role this year. The physical winger is due to make $1 million this season (as well as another million next season), which is an insane amount for a player in the AHL. Although this would not count against the New York cap if Rissmiller is in Hartford, there is no doubt the Rangers hope he is claimed off waivers to save some cash.

The Rangers now left on the roster (including those in Hartford camp) are:
Goal: Chad Johnson, Henrik Lundqvist, Steve Valiquette, Matt Zaba
Defense: Michael Del Zotto, Matt Gilroy, Dan Girardi, Ilkka Heikkinen, Corey Potter, Wade Redden, Michal Rozsival, Bobby Sanguinetti, Alexei Semenov, Marc Staal
Forwards: Artem Anisimov, Tyler Arnason, Sean Avery, Brian Boyle, Donald Brashear, Dane Byers, Ryan Callahan, Paul Crowder, Chris Drury, Marian Gaborik, Evgeny Grachev, Christopher Higgins, Ales Kotalik, Enver Lisin, Corey Locke, Jordan Owens, P.A. Parenteau, Vinny Prospal, Patrick Rissmiller, Aaron Voros

This post first appeared on Can't Play It Talk It, please read the originial post: here

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Dubinsky Signs, Rangers Make First Round of Roster Cuts


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