Blair Betts

Direct Center

by Pete Robinson

With training camp coming up, the Rangers are still in search of a third line center. This spot will split the Prucha – Callahan line, if it remains the same. There are many prospects who are vying for this spot; most notable are Blair Betts and Brandon Dubinsky.

Betts, who has centered the 4th spot for his tenure on the Rangers, is looking to move up. Chances are he’ll be left on the bottom of the list. Betts, who had 9 goals and 4 assists, did very well on face-offs as well as block shots. Even being one of the top face-off men on the Rangers, he will sit at 4th line center with Orr, Hollweg, and Hossa.

Dubinsky is another centremen coming to camp looking for a permanent job on the Blueshirts. Dubinsky has 0 points in 6 games, but seemed very speedy and has a great work ethic. In Hartford, Dubinsky had 43 points in 71 games. He is going to have to put on his ‘A’ game at training camp if he wants to make the cut this year.

You can’t count out Artem Anisimov just yet. Artem, just signed to a pro contract, had 15 goals and 12 assists for 27 points with the Lokomotiv in Russia. According to russianprospects.com, Artem is ‘”A decent skater for a player of his size who displays adequate bursts of speed and solid balance on his skates.” Anisimov displays “nifty stick handling skills and can handle the puck in traffic well.” He has “decent vision and hockey sense, is a crafty passer who can make long accurate feeds, and fires a quick slap shot.”‘

Well, you can always count on a trade. On the rumor block stands Mike Peca, who is 33, who had 15 points in 35 games, and is a two time Selke trophy winner. Yet, in regards to his health and age, is he the right fit for the 3rd line? According to the Daily News, he is. “That would be a great fit. Is it going to happen? I’m not 100% sure. We’ll see what happens,’ Peca stats regarding to centering on the 3rd line. He insists that he is completely healed. Lastly, could they move the roster around by shifting Hollweg, Avery, or Straka to center? I certainly hope not.

Whoever the Blueshirts pick will be an interesting choice. Do they go with the prospects? Or do they go with a vet? Some people say that the Rangers should pick up a centre from the dwindling FA list. I, personally, hope they hold out until camp. I want to see what these kids do, but for now all we can do is speculate.

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