For our first player analysis, we look to the soft spoken fourth line center. Betts played in 75 games last season, accruing two goals and five assists. Despite suffering injuries at the end of the season, Betts was an effective penalty killer and face-off man. Betts will be in the mix of the bottom six or so players vying for a job on the fourth line this season.
Pros: Betts is a strong penalty killer and given the Rangers ability to take a pletora of penalties the past two seasons, that is a definite need. Betts is also a strong complementary face-off guy and very dependable in his own end. He also doesn't take many penalties.
Cons: Betts brings little offense to the fourth line. He has the occasional offensive spurt, but never seems to consistently maintain it. His ankle injury last season will also be cause for concern going into this season. Wuth the departure of Sean Avery and Ryan Hollweg, the Rangers should be taking less penalties, which could put Betts out of the running in favor of a more offensive player.
Realistically: Betts is a good and consistent fourth line center. However, he is currently battling a lot of young players as well as the likes of Petr Nedved who seems to have a bit of an upper hand in camp. Do I think he starts the season as a Ranger? I would give it 50/50 odds at best. My gut is telling me he is part of a package deal, or he starts the 13th forward.
(Photo from NHL.com)
Posted On Wednesday, September 17, 2008 at at 9:24 AM by Woodside Acres