Forward Dainius Zubrus‘ season can be graded on two different levels. You can talk about how he was a rock for his team on the defensive end. On a team that ended the season at -11, he ended up with a +1. He blocked 39 shots, which puts him as above average for a forward and was second among New Jersey Devils forwards.
The other side of the argument is how he seemed to have lost a step on the offensive side. It is something to be expected from a guy who came into the season as a 35-year-old. He only scored 13 goals and had 13 assists. It was the lowest output he put up (besides his injury-riddled, lockout-shortened season last year) since he matched that number back in 2000-01 with the Montreal Canadiens and Washington Capitals.
You never expect Zubrus to be a scorer. He used to have 25-goal potential, but that was his ceiling in his prime. The Devils want a hard-working guy who will fit in with Patrik Elias. He definitely fit that bill, but they thought he would at least fall into points playing on the second line. The expectations weren’t very high for him despite signing a three-year, $9.3 million contract before the season. That said, I think he could have done more.
He had a terrible streak where he went 20 games without a goal. That is a really long time to disappear on a team where for someone in a top-six forward position. He had a terrible March, which is when the Devils needed everyone to play at their best. He had 19 points when the team rung in the New Year. To only post seven points over the last three and a half months is atrocious.
The team loved his durability. He did not miss a game. He is one of four skaters on the team to do that. You have to consider the fact that he was consistently in the lineup.
When you look at his stats as a whole, they don’t look terrible, but you have to take the second half drop-off into consideration. You could blame the fact that Elias got hurt, or you could blame the entire team’s struggles. Either way, Zubrus is somewhat accountable. He was average at best.
Season grade: C