Blair Betts Not an Option for the Oil Unless By Trade

Blair Betts is a name that popped up a lot in posts, blogs and comments around the Oilers team this year. The reason being, Edmonton fans feel much less secure about their strength at the third line center position than apparently the Oilers do.

Well, we can rule out Betts as an option.

Betts has been invited and accepted a tryout at the Philadelphia Flyers training camp this year. While the Oilers opt for young, unproven rookies and kids who have never played an NHL game to crack the line-up or show Oilers management something the team seems to be missing, Edmonton has now let another player who could have been signed on a two-way, league minimum contract slip through as another team not named Edmonton takes advantage of a surplus of veteran players in the UFA market.

At 6'3" and 210 pounds Betts is the type of player the Oilers claimed they'd be looking to add if they couldn't find internally, the heart to compete and play better than the team showed at the end of last season. Are we to believe the Oilers internal search provided evidence that letting someone with Betts skill-set (faceoffs, size, grit and whatever else you can start to list as missing from the 2009 version of the Oilers) go to another camp, yet alone a team that might not need him as much as the Oilers seem to, was a good idea?

Furthermore, we can express the same sentiment about a variety of players who could have received invites but haven't. This years camp of 58 players include an assortment of talent that will never see the light of day in the NHL this year or maybe ever.

I'm all for the experience gained by letting young raw talent play at a higher level, but isn't the point of camp to get to know your team, possible players and what options might be best to start the year? I can't imagine having not invited at least two of any of the many available UFA talents looking for a contract. To me this is a glaring missed opportunity that the Oilers haven't taken full advantage of.

I suppose when all is said and done, if the Oilers regret not inviting Betts, there is another option. The Flyers have shown interest in Rob Schremp. Perhaps a deal there is available, and to the Flyers, Betts may be just an additional but expendable piece. It's a long shot and if Betts wasn't invited for free, I'm not sure why the Oilers would pay for him, but stranger things have happened.


Betts is only on a tryout, no need to trade for him.

Any team can offer him a contract at this point. Much like when Brent Sopel was in Red Wings camp a few years back and the Blackhawks signed him.

September 9, 2009 at 9:36 AM comment-delete

I get what you mean. This article was more in reference to the fact that Betts wasn't even invited to the Oilers tryout which indicates they have no interest.

Should that change, my point was, by the time they realize they made a mistake, he'll likely have signed a small contract and a trade then becomes the option.

You are correct though in that if they say to him today, we'd like to offer you a UFA contract, he can accept it. I'm suggesting they simply won't make that call before they realize they don't have what they need internally.

September 9, 2009 at 10:43 AM comment-delete

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