UPDATE: Not long after McLellan mentioned that Upshall will skate with the team subject to his physical (which sparked some questions in my brain), Upshall has failed his physical due to a knee issue. He won’t be able to participate for a few weeks which all but ends his shot at making the Oilers.
The Oilers signed Scottie Upshall to a Player Try Out today. This is no surprise given the rumors over the last week.
Upshall spent the last 3 years with the St. Louis Blues and tallied 7 goals and 19 points in 63 games last season. He was clearly on the 4th line as he played just under 10 minutes per game at even strength. Upshall was surprisingly productive offensively in those minutes as he produced at a P/60 rate of 1.93 and a P1/60 rate of 1.42 – very solid numbers for a 4th liner. Upshall added another minute and 20 seconds per game on the 5 on 4 penalty kill.
Upshall’s most common linemate last year was newly signed Oiler Kyle Brodziak so these two will be quite familiar with each other. With that said, the numbers do show that they each played better away from each other, in particular, Brodziak who had a 64% goal share in 466 minutes without Upshall.
I have been very adamant that the Oilers need to acquire one more cheap forward, an established NHL forward, to put another player between the likes of Brad Malone (or a raw prospect) and the NHL. Subject to Yamamoto, the Oilers might be one forward injury away from Brad Malone playing NHL games so another NHL forward to add to the mix would be beneficial.
The initial verbal from some of the “talking heads” is that the Oilers wouldn’t be bringing in Upshall to be the 14th forward but that he’d be brought in to play.
I don’t know if Upshall is the right guy. While he does turn 35 in October, he is an established NHL player that can kill penalties and provide leadership and he can still skate. With that said, I anticipate some very interesting players to be available on the waiver wire. There is no commitment here, the Oilers are simply bringing Upshall to camp for a look. It will need to be a quick look as I anticipate they will make any decision on Upshall prior to the team getting on the plane for Europe.