Never say never, but it seems all but certain that we've seen the last of Brandon Dubinsky in not only a Blue Jackets jersey, but as an NHL player.
After missing the entire 2019-20 season due to a wrist injury, Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen described Dubinsky's the injury as a "chronic condition" back in April. At the time, there was no indication whether or not it would spell the end of his career, but as we learned last month, Kekalainen said that the 34-year-old center will "most likely" not play again as a result of the injury.
With one year still remaining on his contract, Dubinsky will likely head to the long-term injury reserve list this coming season before any official retirement announcement would come.
And when that announcement does come, he'll be owed many thanks by the Columbus faithful.
During his seven seasons as a Blue Jacket, he was an integral part of the team as they transitioned from generally losing to generally winning. Of the six times Columbus has qualified for the postseason, he was a part of the team in all but one. In other words, he's played in 87% (27 of 31) of the playoff games in team history.
It's where he's had some of his most memorable moments, as well. Until last year's sweep of Tampa Bay in the first round of the NHL playoffs (with Dubinsky, of course), one of the most entertaining moments in franchise history was Nick Foligno's overtime game winner in the 2014 playoffs against the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was the first home playoff win in franchise history, and it's often forgotten that Foligno's moment doesn't happen without Dubinsky's goal in the final seconds.
While that would be the last win of the series for Columbus, it put them on the national map for the first time and gave them long-desired credibility across the league.
He was also one of the teams best irritants in recent memory, consistent finding ways to be a pest without being labeled as a dirty player. Anyone who can annoy Sidney Crosby enough to get him to drop the gloves is doing something right, and that's exactly what he was able to do in February of 2015.
No clear winner in that fight, but Dubinsky ended up on top of Crosby, got up first, and got the best punch of the battle. Close enough.
In all, Dubinsky scored 72 times with 153 helpers during his seven seasons in Columbus. His best value, though, and one that didn't get talked about enough, was his effective in the face-off circle. He never had a winning percentage less than 50%, and averaged winning 53% of draws as a Blue Jacket. By comparison, the Columbus won only 48% of their draws this season, which was 26th in the league. Of all 31 teams this season, only two were above Dubinsky's 53% average as a Blue Jacket.
The future is uncertain for Dubinsky, but it wouldn't be unrealistic to see him stick with the team in a developmental role when his playing days officially come to an end. Even if not, it seems that he's enjoyed his time in Columbus and will hopefully be a familiar face around town for years to come.
And because it feels obligatory, there is something we all need to "experience":