Dubinsky: “I have to take two steps forward next season.”

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Brandon Dubinsky missed almost a month of the playoffs because of a high ankle sprain. Now it sounds like he wasn’t 100% even when he returned on May 23. With the Rangers’ season over, Dubinsky will need another six-to-eight weeks to fully recover.

Of course, the injury was merely the latest blow to what was a disappointing season for Dubinsky. After setting new career-highs in goals and points in 2010-11, Dubinsky struggled in the first season of his four-year/$16.8 million contract.

“I took a step backward this year,” said Dubinsky. “I have to take two steps forward next season.”

The big question is if Dubinsky will still be a member of the New York Rangers when he attempts to stage his comeback. Dubinsky’s name came up in the Rick Nash trade rumors prior to the trade deadline. If the Rangers go after Nash again this summer, fresh rumors will probably crop up regarding Dubinsky.

That’s not just because of Dubinsky’s potential, but also due to his cap hit. He’s costing the Rangers $4.2 million a season in cap space and they’ll have a much easier time dealing with their cap situation following a major acquisition if they also part ways with Dubinsky.