[Ed. note: As part of the build-up to the first round playoff series between the Capitals and the Rangers, Japers' Rink will be looking at some of the important but lesser-known players on the Rangers and how they might impact the series.]
#15 / Center / New York Rangers
Feb 16, 1980
Edmonton, Alta., Canada
33rd overall, 1998
Trade with Calgary, March 6, 2004
|Strengths||Has good size for the pivot position and solid two-way skills. Displays leadership qualities and a sound work ethic.|
|Weaknesses||Has limited scoring and/or playmaking ability. Also doesn't have the greatest skating ability, which limits his effectiveness in the NHL.|
|Potential||Checking line center.|
Why you should know who he is - Betts is the Rangers' answer to Boyd Gordon, a quietly gritty, defensively sound center man who excels on defense (he was among the team's best in GA/60 this year and last year). Betts isn't likely to see much even strength time, though, and isn't likely to have much of an impact when he does play in five-on-five situations. Rather, Betts' impact will come on the Rangers' NHL-best penalty kill, a unit he led in ice time.
How the Caps can stop him - Betts isn't a player who needs to be "stopped" per se - he doesn't have the potential to change the series the way guys like Brandon Dubinsky, Marc Staal, or Ryan Callahan can. That said, if the Capitals can limit Betts' effectiveness it will go a long way towards limiting the effectiveness of the Rangers' penalty kill unit as a whole. The Capitals ought to look to wear out Betts - and the Rangers penalty kill unit as a whole - by making the effort to draw as many penalties as possible, and by keeping their powerplay fast-moving and agressive when they do have the man advantage.