Dainius Zubrus can’t be happy with how last season transpired for him. He was hurt more than half the shortened season (he played in 22 games) and he didn’t have much time to produce anything, only totaling 9 points. Statistically, last year was the least productive of his career but once again it’s tough to be productive when you aren’t playing. He’s never played only 22 games in a season, including playoffs, in his career including his amateur junior hockey days.
In Zubrus’ 16-year NHL career, he has produced under 25 points only 3 times; his rookie season (1996-97) with the Philadelphia Flyers, 1998-99 where he only tallied 16 points and played for both the Flyers and Montreal Canadiens, and last season with the Devils.
His best years were definitely with the Washington Capitals. He was right in his prime right when a fella named Alex Ovechkin was just coming into the league. Zubrus had 57 points in 2005-06 and then had 52 points in 60 games the next season before he was traded towards the end of the season to the Buffalo Sabres.
After 15 games in the playoffs with the Sabres (8 points), Zubrus signed a 6-year, $20.4 million contract with the New Jersey Devils. He was a steady point producer in his entire tenure with the Devils, once again excluding last season. He played in every single game in 2011-12 right up until the Kings hoisted the Cup. He had 54 points total that year and was a big contributor to their run to the Stanley Cup Finals.
What to Expect
Zubrus doesn’t have to be amazing to keep his job this year. The Devils signed him to a 3-year, $9.3 million contract. He shouldn’t get lazy though because the Devils can really benefit from his 6′ 5″ frame and his stamina. Zubrus is known for playing in most, if not all, the games in any given season.
He is also a consistent point earner for the team and will naturally return to his normal form. There’s a good chance he will be placed on the 2nd line if he is willing to stay at Center. He is known for jumping around to RW every now and then. I’m sure he won’t complain being surrounded by Ryane Clowe or Michael Ryder as they will definitely help each other out.
Another 25+ point season definitely seems likely, that’s for sure.