It's the money.
If Brandon Dubinsky and the Rangers go to salary arbitration as scheduled tomorrow in Toronto, it will be a result of the parties' failure to reach an agreement on a long-term deal covering five or six seasons, well-placed sources have told The Post.
Dubinsky, the 25-year-old winger, led the team in goals, assists and points last year (24-30-54) and ranks second in each category (44-54-98) behind Marian Gaborik (64-70-134) over the past two years. He is believed to be seeking in the neighborhood of $5 million to $5.25 million per year on a long-term deal while the Rangers are believed to be offering approximately $500,000 less per season.
For the sake of comparison, Winnipeg winger Andrew Ladd just signed a five-year deal worth $4.4 million per year. The Rangers would not trade Dubinsky for Ladd. On the other hand, Anaheim winger Bobby Ryan is entering the second year of a five-year deal worth $5.1 million per. The Ducks would not consider dealing Ryan for Dubinsky.
The collective bargaining agreement's looming expiration following this season has complicated the negotiations. Under the current regulations, Dubinsky could become a free agent in 2013. As such, he would potentially be yielding three years of unrestricted free agent money on a five-year deal.
It is expected, however, that the league will seek to increase the age and eligibility requirements for free agency in the next CBA, meaning that the Rangers could well have an additional year or two of control over Dubinsky's contract once the new labor agreement is completed.
It's the money.