Player Report Card: Blair Betts

NAME: Blair Betts

POSITION: Center

Regular Season Statistics: 63 Games Played – 8 Goals, 10 Assists, 18 Points.  +7.

Analysis: When Blair Betts signed a one-year deal with the Flyers out of Training Camp on October 1, 2009, many people looked at Betts as a solid veteran signing, and not much more.  Sure, everyone was familiar with him in the sense of him being a solid depth player – he was a member of the New York Rangers the past two seasons – but it was hard to be incredibly excited about a depth signing.  Blair Betts single-handedly made myself and many other Flyers fans gain 100% trust in Paul Holmgren as a General Manager with how he played for the Flyers this year.  Betts put up career numbers in assists and points, and, obviously had the best statistical season of his career.  He provided the Flyers with a dominant center in the face-off circle on their fourth line, and was part of the reason for the strong play of their front couple of lines, because Betts and his fourth line counterparts would simply wear down the opposition with their determination and “Never say die” attitude.

Postseason Statistics: 23 Games Played – 1 Goals, 1 Assist, 2 Points. -4.

Analysis: Like many checking line players, Betts was counted on to be a guy the Flyers could be assured would battle hard each and every game as well as give a strong effort on the penalty kill.  Betts was able to do both of those tasks even in the face of adversity.  The Flyers’ center separated his shoulder for the 11th time in his career – an injury that predictably has plagued his time in the NHL – during Game Six of the Boston series.  The injury happened in the second period, and Betts, ever the trooper, was back on the bench with his teammates writhing in pain for the third period, even though he did not play a second of the frame.  Still, separated shoulder and all, Betts did not miss a game, as he was in the lineup for Game Seven against Boston and all the Stanley Cup Final games as well.  Blair Betts’ hard work and absolute desire to win really won me over this season, and I’m more than happy there will be at least one more year of #11 in Orange and Black.

FINAL GRADE:  A

Reasoning: Any time you can make a signing five days before the start of the regular season and have that player be a huge asset to your team, you know you’ve done something right.  Blair Betts happened to be that asset this season, coming to the Flyers as a training camp invite, and making the team as a result of his play.  You need to catch your breaks in life, and Betts did just that this season, having the best statistical year of his career.  Betts gave the Flyers a more than dependable center on their checking line unit, as well as a top-unit penalty killer and stellar face-off man.  All that for a last second signing?  I’d take it in a heartbeat.

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