Recently, it was announced that forward Scottie Upshall signed a one-year, one-way contract for $800,000 with the St. Louis Blues. He has played the past two seasons with the Blues, but expected to part ways with them at the end of last season. He was on a PTO with the Vancouver Canucks, but was released last week.
Scottie Upshall Happy to Be Back
Upshall seems excited to be back in St. Louis despite the departure of his former linemate, Ryan Reaves. He recently tweeted, “Now on to what really matters…@StLouisBlues LETS GO!! Very excited to be home again. Can’t wait for Wednesday night!!” He will play on the fourth line with Kyle Brodziak and Chris Thorburn. Due to the arrival of Brayden Schenn this off-season, Upshall will switch to number nine and Brayden Schenn will wear number ten.
Upshall’s Long Career
In Upshall’s two seasons with the Blues, he had 34 points in 143 games. Originally drafted as number six overall by the Nashville Predators in 2002, then going to the Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, and finally the St. Louis Blues. The 14 year NHL veteran has played 696 career games, recording 266 points along the way. Upshall is 33 years old and nearing the end of his career. This could be his last chance at winning the Stanley Cup.
Upshall, A Difference Maker?
The Blues season is already off to a rough start and it hasn’t even started yet (technically). Plagued by more injuries than you can count on one hand, the Blues are going to be relying on several inexperienced players including Tage Thompson, Oskar Sundqvist, Ivan Barbashev, and Vince Dunn to produce night in and night out. Upshall, being one of the oldest players on the team, is going to be looked upon to help these young kids grow and learn.
Head coach Mike Yeo also believes Upshall will continue to help the team physically. “He’s gonna bring physicality, he’s gonna bring speed, and he’s gonna bring obviously penalty killing. If you believe that things are gonna be called the way that they have in preseason, then special teams is gonna be a very, very important part to the start of the season.” Physicality is something the Blues have been lacking in the past few seasons. The Blues have become a smaller team, making them less of a threat to their opponents. At 6’0” and 200 pounds, Upshall can make a difference physically.
Offensively, however, is a different story. As a fourth line forward, he has gotten an average of 11 minutes of ice time per game with the Blues. He has gotten less than 20 points a season with the Blues. His job is not to score or put up points, although, it is certainly exciting when he does. He is the physical presence that the Blues need.
Overall, the Upshall contract is a good move by the Blues. They did not spend too much money on him, he can provide a veteran presence by sharing his experience to help the younger kids on the roster, and he can make a physical impact.