Philadelphia Flyers Add Former Ranger Blair Betts on a Pro Tryout

Bleacher ReportAnalyst ISeptember 8, 2009

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 05:  Blair Betts #15 of the New York Rangers skates against the New York Islanders on March 5, 2009 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. The Rangers defeated the Islanders 4-2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Flyers have signed unrestricted free agent center Blair Betts to a professional tryout agreement effective effective on Sep. 13, when the Flyers open up training camp.

Betts, 29, appeared in all but one game last season for the New York Rangers, potting six goals and four assists for 10 points.  His forte isn't scoring points, or setting up plays at all; instead, he excels on the defensive side of the puck.

The Edmonton native is a top-notch defensive forward, and penalty killer.  New York was the league's top penalty kill unit last season—killing off 87.8-percent of their infractions—and it was largely because of Betts.

Drafted in the second round by the Flames, Betts has spent the last four seasons playing for the Blueshirts, before playing his first three seasons with the team that drafted him, Calgary.

Adding him to the training camp roster doesn't mean that Betts will make the Flyers roster.  He still remains an unrestricted free agent.  However, he's eligible to participate in training camp and preseason games.

Betts will be a terrific addition to the Flyers if he does make the roster as a bottom-six forward.  Since he's one of the league's premier PKers, Betts will help give Philadelphia's top players—like Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, and Simon Gagne—more ice time at five-on-five.

The 6'3", 210-pound Betts has won, on average over the past three seasons, about 50 percent of his faceoff draws, which would top the Flyers in that category.

Another good point to adding Betts is, if he makes the team, he'll allow Claude Giroux to play on the first or second line, which could put a stop the Flyers' search for another winger.

This continues the notion that the Flyers are turning to more of a defensive brand of hockey, as Betts will not contribute much on offense if he makes the squad.

A couple years ago, the Flyers gave Jim Dowd a pro tryout and he turned out to be a good addition to the team since he was good in the faceoff circle and at killing penalties.

Betts will wear No. 11 during training camp.

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