Brandon Dubinsky's contract well earned, Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen says.
Brandon Dubinsky has become a core component of the Blue Jackets' foundation.
Greg Bartram / USA TODAY Sports
By Alison Lukan
On July 23, 2012, Brandon Dubinsky was traded to the last place Columbus Blue Jackets as part of a package from the New York Rangers in exchange for then Jackets captain Rick Nash. Just under two years later, the Blue Jackets are coming off their second playoff run including their first ever playoff wins and Dubinsky has been signed to a six-year contract extension that will begin in 2015.
Dubinsky's extension, announced Friday by the club, keeps him under contract with Columbus through the 2020-21 season at $5.85 million per year.
"This is a well-earned contract," said Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen. "He is a leader on our team and a guy that plays at his best when it counts the most as we all saw in the playoffs."
Last season, Dubinsky was third on the Blue Jackets in points going 16-34-50 in the regular season and 1-5-6 in 6 playoff games playing against Penguins star Sidney Crosby.
When the negotiation window opened for NHL contracts, the organization reached out to Dubinsky even though a year remained on his current contract.
"They extended themselves and made an unbelievable gesture," Dubinsky said. "That made it easy for me. It solidified that they wanted to be a big part of this organization."
It wasn't just Dubinsky's playoff performance that motivated the Jackets organization to begin talks with the 28-year-old center. Kekalainen said that Dubinsky proved to be one of the team's core players and team leaders.
"The best leadership starts from how you play and I think that's where Brandon is the best example on our team with his performance on the ice," Kekalainen said. "(Dubinsky) has a lot of skills and can play in different situations...but the character, the intensity level and the battle level those are the biggest things.
"He's a Blue Jacket," Kekalainen said. "He plays like we want every Blue Jacket to play."
Dubinsky said that the commitment to winning from the Jackets ownership has made the team something he wants to be a part of.
"To go from last place to first place would be amazing and I think we're quite capable of doing that," Dubinsky said. "I think the ownership and front office is going to find a way to make that happen and that's why I wanted to commit here. I want to be here for a long time."
In addition to the team, Dubinsky said that Columbus was a place he and his young family, which includes his wife and infant daughter, wanted to stay. Dubinsky came to Columbus for a month immediately after being traded and said the city has only exceeded his expectations.
"Columbus has been great to me, the fans have been great, the city has been great," Dubinsky said. "Hockey is the biggest factor but I enjoy a lot of other aspects away from the rink."
With his future as a Blue Jacket solidified, Dubinsky's focus is squarely on trying to bring more wins to Columbus. That will come from Dubinsky's on-ice efforts and his work as part of the Jackets' leadership group within a team that remains one of the youngest in the league.
"There are still things I can do to improve myself and get better, hopefully that rubs off on some of the young guys," Dubinsky said. "I'm going to do my best to lead by example on the ice and try to say and do the right things off the ice when they are necessary to be said or done.
"With the veterans, with the young guys already on the roster and with the prospects in the organization, I think we're headed in a great direction," Dubinsky said. "I'm really happy and excited to be a part of it."
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