With training camp about a month away and holes still left to be plugged, I heard a rumour from a couple of different sources that I trust that the Edmonton Oilers are one of a few western conference teams (Vancouver is in the mix as well) that are interested in bringing in veteran, Scottie Upshall, on a professional tryout. I’ve also been told that he also has a KHL offer on the table that he’s considering as well. According to my sources, nothing is locked in yet but that there is some interest in seeing if Upshall is a fit from an Oilers perspective. Obviously, this is just a rumour at this point but I do trust the peeps this came from, and that makes me think that this thing has some legs.
With the Oilers’ depth on the wings looking as shallow as it is, it would make a world of sense for them to try and improve that situation as effectively and cheaply as possible. So bringing in a veteran player like Upshall on a PTO would give them another potential option on the wings without having to fully commit to anything aside from offering up an opportunity. To me, a PTO makes the sense given the variables that surround some of the unproven commodities that would otherwise be manning those positions.
For the Oilers, Upshall, a veteran of 759 NHL games with six different teams, would certainly add an element of experience to the wings with the ability to generate a little bit of bit of offence while also chipping in on special teams. Though we aren’t talking about a massive addition here, Upshall does have the skill set to help the Oilers solidify their bottom six and potentially help on special teams which are both issues that could use some attention. Last season, 34-year-old Upshall posted seven goals and 12 assists for the Blues in 63 games played, and averaged 10:51 per night with 9:27 of that coming at even strength.
Looking at the roster, the salary cap, and seeing areas where the Oilers could be looking to find cheap solutions, I can see how Scottie Upshall could fit the bill for what they need and why they would be interested.
At the end of the day, if this rumour ends up being true and the Oilers are the team that brings Upshall in for a tryout, I see this as a smart move for a team that doesn’t have cap space left to play with or much experience on that right side. At the very worst, having in a veteran like Upshall in on a PTO would add a welcomed layer of competition in a race for wing slots that wasn’t exactly jam-packed with horses, if you know what I mean. From Upshall’s perspective, I could also see him looking at the Oilers’ current lineup and seeing daylight on both sides of centre and feeling like there’s a real chance for him to continue his career. Not to mention, with Andrej Sekera hitting the LTIR when the season starts, the team would now have some additional cap space to make it happen should he earn the spot.
With all that said, I can’t stress enough that this is all just a rumour at this point but I still thought it was worth writing about considering who I heard the information from and knowing where the Oilers would like to improve. Personally, I think PTOs are the way to go when trying to find cheap players that can be short-term plugs for holes in the roster and Upshall would certainly be a low risk gamble, provided that he ends up here on a tryout. So will this happen? That is yet to be seen, but it does certainly seem like a plausible rumour given what we know. And besides, Upshall is from Fort Mac and what good Alberta boy wouldn’t want to throw on the blue and orange at least once in their career? On paper, it all makes sense.
What do you guys think?
UPSHALL’S NHL CAREER
|2010-11||Columbus Blue Jackets||NHL||21||6||1||7||10||-12||—||—||—||—||—|
|2015-16||St. Louis Blues||NHL||70||6||8||14||44||5||17||1||2||3||10|
|2016-17||St. Louis Blues||NHL||73||10||8||18||45||-1||11||0||0||0||8|
|2017-18||St. Louis Blues||NHL||63||7||12||19||46||-1||—||—||—||—||—|