Betts’ spot with Flyers is far from sure thing

VOORHEES — For those who assumed that Blair Betts’ training camp try out would automatically end in a roster spot – think again.

On his first day of skating at the Flyers’ practice facility at the Skate Zone in Voorhees, N.J., Betts didn’t seem confident that he was a shoe-in on the Flyers’ roster.

“We have been talking to the Flyers for a couple months and there seems to be a little bit of interest from them,” said Betts, who spent the last four years with the Rangers. “There is an opportunity (to earn a contract) but I don’t know how great of an opportunity it is.

“My conversations with them (Paul Holmgren and John Stevens) were very short.  I was told to play hard and work hard and an opportunity may open up for me. That’s all I’m focusing on right now.”

Betts, a role-playing penalty kill specialist, seemed to be a perfect fit for the Flyers, who lack a two-way depth center and would like to keep the pk minutes down on Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.

“If that’s the team’s plan, that’s definitely one of my strong points,” said Betts.  “It’s hard to keep a guy like Richards off the penalty kill with his shorthanded ability, but I feel like if you can get your bottom six guys contributing and let your top players rest a bit, it’s a big bonus.”

One characteristic of Betts’ game that cannot be overlooked is his faceoff success.  He has a win percentage of 51% over the last four years,  a number that would top all Flyers.

“I can be (good on faceoffs),” he said. “I struggled last season, below 50-percent, but I definitely think I can contribute in face offs, I think I can get back there (to above 50%).  It’s definitely something I need to be good at if I want a spot on this team.”

Regardless of his early chances on the squad, Betts is intrigued by the direction of the Flyers in 2009-10.

“They are a team that has been competitive over a number of years,” he said. “And adding a guy like Chris Pronger, there has been a lot of talk about this team going to be contending for a Stanley Cup and I have to agree with them.  It’s a tremendous opportunity to possibly be a part of.”

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Filed under 2009-10 season, Free Agents, Offseason

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