Rangers Analysis: Dubinsky Won't Struggle With Added Pressure

"There's a lot of weight that comes with the contract I just signed,  and a lot of expectations that come with it," said Dubinsky. "But I think I am ready to take that step and make sure that I play up to those expectations."

Brandon Dubinsky has been around long enough to know that hefty contracts come with hefty pressure when playing in the city of New York. The 25-year-old's recent 4-year, $16.8 million contract will certainly bring upon expectations that he's never experienced at the NHL level before, but Brandon's persona suggests that he will not fold under the added pressure. Instead, he sees this as an opportunity to improve and take bigger strides than he has in the past.

Each season Dubinsky has improved his game in some way, and last year I think we saw improvements in more than just one way. Everything clicked for Dubi and he never really hit the rough patch that we were so accustomed to seeing him hit in years past. The difference between last season and the ones prior was that Dubinsky emerged as an individual. He was no longer just a set-up man or there for the benefit of someone else like when he played with Jaromir Jagr several years ago. Last season he was there for Brandon Dubinsky, and he took hold of that concept and ran with it.

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Dubinsky is no longer being compared to other players in the league. Instead, others players in the league are being compared to him. His work ethic, his hands, his leadership; it all blends to form a very well-rounded player, and those don't grow on trees these days. That's why he was valued so high and why he is being paid $4.2 million a year to remain a New York Ranger.

Sadly, though, cap numbers have a much more significant meaning to the fans now. All past accomplishments and merits are thrown out the window once you sign a new contract (see Chris Drury). The fans expect more out of a player when they have an expensive price tag attached to them. Dubinsky will experience this and he knows that. He will be expected to help lead the team, not only in the locker room and on the bench, but on the scoresheet as well. If he doesn't live up to those expectations, the Garden and media will let him know it. That's just how it is.

But there's something about Brandon that tells me he won't run into the same problems as former teammates Wade Redden, Scott Gomez and Chris Drury all did under the Broadway lights. He puts expectations on himself and believes in himself. Trust me, there are no confidence issues when it comes to Dubi. He will take the added pressure and swallow it whole. He will use it to his advantage and as a motivational factor. Dubinsky is not going to fall into the never-ending ditch of overpayment. He'll prove he deserves that $4.2 million per year, and he'll be worth every penny of it.

You can mark my words.