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2011 NHL Free Agency Profile: Scottie Upshall

One day closer to the NHL Free Agency period, it seems that there are not many free agents left.  Value can be found if you know where to look, and today we're looking Scottie Upshall's way.

Why he'd fit:  Over the past several seasons, Upshall's goals scored have increased as the number of games he played in increased.  A trend that appears to be continuing upwards is definitely a great addition to the Stars' roster.  At 27 years old, the left handed RW is still young enough to expect that trend to continue.  Averaging roughly 16 minutes per game, Upshall could be one of those players whose increased time on ice results in higher goal and assist numbers.  His style of play seems to slot him in nicely on the Morrow-Ribeiro line.  Can Upshall be the RW that these two need to turn them into a high-scoring line?  It sure is fun to dream about.

Why it won't work: Upshall's two-way game is not exactly desirable.  Finishing many nights on the wrong side of the +/- shows that his defensive game needs some work.  To be fair, Upshall's +/- did improve under Dave Tippett while playing for the Phoenix Coyotes, where a defensively-minded scheme was implemented.  When he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the deadline last season, Upshall finished with more minus nights than anything else.  I would think that is a function of the team he was on, and not necessarily his own defensive capabilities -- but only time can tell on that one.  With Gulutzan's ability to instill a strong two-way system in the teams he coaches, this could definitely be worked on as a Star.

Final verdict: I see Upshall as one that has some of the better upside in the free agency pool.  He's still young, and his potential for scoring can be made much higher by playing with a playmaker such as Ribeiro as his center.  Combined with Morrow who loves to work for rebound goals, Upshall can be some added scoring depth that the Stars desperately need.  And wouldn't it be nice to finally see a RW stick on that line?  At the right price and contract length, Upshall can be a good piece for this Stars roster for some good years ahead.  What do you think -- sign or pass?  Tell us in the comments.