Photo by Steven Christy
Wow. And thank you. Gerry Fleming, today on the Bob Stauffer helmed radio show Oilers Now, made mention of two Oilers prospects that will be joining the Oklahoma City Barons for their Calder Cup Playoff run. Both Greg Chase and Ben Betker will join the squad this week in anticipation of game one against the San Antonio Rampage in downtown Oklahoma City on Thursday evening.
Via Oilers Now:
"Greg Chase and Ben Betker are both on their way." OKC Barons head coach Gerry Fleming.
— OilersNow (@OilersNow) April 21, 2015
Drafted in the sixth round of the 2013 entry draft, Betker has played three straight, 60+ game seasons with the Everett Silvertips of the WHL. Amassing 265 PIM, and just a scant over 50 points, Betker is a “heavier” type defenseman.
The Oilers, and to the same extent the Barons, have lacked a defender with his size and type for many seasons. As the prospect pool turned more towards puck movers rather than puck shakers, players like Betker squeeze in to an interesting niche which is always difficult to assess.
Signed to a contract by the Oilers in march of this year, Betker will be thrown in to live professional action sooner rather than later. Depth, in any playoff run, is going to be key for the longevity of the Barons during their Calder Cup push. Betker helps.
Then there is Greg Chase, one of the few forward prospects that seemingly stand out among the others.
Drafted the same year as Betker, Chase has spent the majority of his WHL career with the Calgary Hitmen where he played 214 games earning 177 points. Traded to Victoria after some undisclosed issues with the Hitmen, Chase settled in nicely for the remaining 46 games of the regular season where he recorded nearly a point per game. His goodness continued through two rounds of the WHL playoffs which ended after ten games, and a defeat at the hands of the Kelowna Rockets.
Chase is a feisty goal scorer, and fits in to a need systematically for the Oilers. They need a feisty player with zip who has good hands, great speed, and youth. Chase is going to give you all those things.
The 2013 Oilers draft class might churn out some gems, and these two players are worth noting as potential diamonds in the rough. Only time, and minutes in California next season will tell.
Meanwhile this really earns Oklahoma City good minutes from two potentially good players. Chase, having signed an ATO a season earlier, seems right at home against AHL competition. Shoehorning him in to a Barons lineup needing additional skill should be no problem.