[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.]
#80 / Center / New York Rangers
Feb 18, 1980
Ust-Kamenogorsk, USSR (now Kazakhstan)
10th overall in 1998
Via trade from Toronto, March 4, 2009
|Strengths||Can line up at all three forward positions. Plays with poise and patience. Owns good vision and two-way smarts. Works hard and has impressive size and reach.|
|Weaknesses||Is so big that he could still stand to play more of a power game at the NHL level for a greater impact. Is prone to mental lapses on the ice. Lacks natural goal-scoring ability.|
|Potential||Top six forward.|
[We thought we'd ask someone a bit more knowledgeable than us to help out on the analysis for this one, so, without further ado, spring-time Caps fan PPP...]
Why you should know who he is - Antropov has played 207 relatively healthy games mostly in a row. During that time he has scored 148 points (0.72/game). For a guy that was so injury prone before the lockout it's that much more impressive. A large part of his success can be attributed to Nik coming to terms with the advantage that his size provides him and his soft hands. He's played the majority of his time with Chris Drury who has 15 points since the deadline so he has helped increase Captain Clutch's offence.
How the Caps can stop him - The key to stopping Antropov (in my eyes) is a big defenceman that has the strength and positioning to take away Antro's strengths. If he has time to shift and hold on to the puck it gives his linemates time to get open. Looking at the roster the likeliest candidates are Erskine, Schultz, Poti, and Jurcina. From what I remember from last year Erskine and Jurcina are horrible and Poti is really soft so that leaves Schultz. The Rangers' PP hasn't improved but Antropov is amazing at deflections so keep his stick tied up.
Anyway, what are your thoughts Caps fans? Educate a bandwagoner.