And so, the plot thickens. As it becomes clearer and clearer that the Rangers and Dubinsky are not going to come together on a multi-year contract, the Rangers have signed one Vaclav "Vinnie" Prospal. Yeah, that happened. Prospal was on Torts's Lightning for a while (though not the year they won the Cup), and a few weeks ago, the Lightning bought out the remainder of his contract with them, making him an unrestricted free agent. We signed him to 1 year for $1.1 million. Prospal is 34 and his best years are almost certainly behind him. He has played wing most of his career, but would likely center for us.
So, yeah, we signed another past-his-prime vet. But: we only spent $1.1 million on him. And it seems to me like this is more of an "insurance" signing. The season is getting closer and closer and no one seems to be interested in writing Dubinsky an offer sheet. This means that, despite his and the club's best efforts to somehow fuck things up, he will be a Ranger next season. He will be eligible for arbitration at the conclusion of the season, and so he and the Rangers will likely put together a Callahan-sized deal at that point. So why is everyone fussed over the money right now? I'm not thinking Dubi can't survive on $698,500 a year.
More likely Torts wanted someone around to fill the first-line center role if it turns out Dubi can't hack it. I know we're all up on our "stop signing old men and bring up the youth" soap boxes, and we're pretty much right, but remember that the only time we've ever really seen Dubi thrive as a first-line center was with Jaromir Goddammit Jagr on his wing, so we don't know whether or not he can take on a leadership role. You know I want to see him as our first line center, but it's good to have Prospal as a backup.
And, in the likely scenario that Dubinsky does come through as our top center, we have another decent forward who Torts knows how to work with. Dubi - Drury - Prospal sounds like a decent top 3 centers, while Anisimov spends another year getting better at hockey, for example.
The point is: assuming Dubinsky doesn't get an offer sheet, we're keeping him at under $700,000 this season. So what's the harm in also throwing $1.1m at Prospal for the season and seeing what happens? If Dubi somehow does get an offer sheet, we'll worry about it then.