The Blackhawks are poised to make some changes after a disappointing 2010-11 season, and with cap space to spare this offseason there’s potential for some quality moves. Blackhawk Up will take a look at who’s available for Stan Bowman to pursue over the next week. However, Bowman cannot negotiate before July 1 – or should he? On the docket today is New York Rangers forward Brandon Dubinsky.

Pucker up, buttercup. (Associated Press)

CONTRACT STATUS: Restricted Free Agent; $1.850 million cap hit in 2010-11

2010-11 STATS: 77 GP; 24 G; 30 A; 100 PIM; minus-3; 2 GWG

Why Stan Bowman Should Be Texting Him Right Now: Dubinsky, a four-year veteran, led the Rangers with 54 points last season and helped them reach the playoffs despite extended injuries to Ryan Callahan and the fragile Marian Gaborik. Dubinsky could fill the third-line center role behind Jonathan Toews and Dave Bolland, yet he also has the abilities to fill in on the second line when the inevitable Bolland injury happens. The kid is also an aggressor and fits into the label of you loving him on your team, yet hating to play against him. There’s constant pressure from fans and media that the Blackhawks needs someone to be an instigator and stand up for his teammates. Dubinsky only fought four times, though he got in plenty of scraps and saved his fights for rivalry games – Washington, Philadelphia and the Islanders.

Beyond his toughness, Dubinsky has put together back-to-back 20-goal seasons – something Bowman lauded when he traded for Michael Frolik. In 2009-10, he scored 20 in only 69 games. He has the offensive talent and consistency – his longest pointless streak was eight games – to be a real asset for the Blackhawks. With the Rangers possibly looking to sign Dallas’ Brad Richards for more than $7 million per season and adding in Gaborik’s and Lundqvist’s large contracts, Dubinsky may have to go elsewhere to get the money he wants.

Don’t Risk the Fine: The chances of Dubinsky coming to Chicago are slim for a couple of reasons. First, the rumor is Dubinsky is looking for a multiyear deal in the neighborhood of $4.5 million per season – a substantial raise of nearly $3 million. Though his age (25) lends to the possibility he has a bright future, especially given his past two seasons, it may be a bit much to ask. Second, the Blackhawks would have to move around more money and possibly risk losing Troy Brouwer and more to make Dubinsky fit under the cap for the next couple of years. Third, the Rangers have made Dubinsky and Callahan the top two priorities when it comes to their seven restricted free agents. New York, planning to be heavily involved in the free agent market, may even wait out Dubinsky and let him sign an offer sheet when he gets restless for lower than his asking price. The Rangers would then match to get him at the cost that best fits them.

The Verdict: Don’t tamper. Bowman simply would be spinning his wheels on this one given Dubinsky’s rumored demands and the leverage New York holds with him being an RFA. He’s a solid young player would fit in well with the ‘Hawks, though the chances of him signing are slim to none.

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