The free agent signing period begins Friday, July 1. The Florida Panthers have approximately $24 million to spend just to reach the salary cap floor, which means the team will need to be active to reach that mark. So over the next few days, we’ll be taking a look at some of the free agents that we hope are on the Panthers radar. In this installment, we’ll take a look at Scottie Upshall.
Upshall was drafted 1st round, 6th overall by Nashville in 2002. At six feet, 197 pounds he has reasonable size for a right winger. He has spent time in Nashville, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and most recently a 21 game stint in Columbus. Last season was arguably his best so far in the NHL, Upshall had 22 goals and 12 assists for Pheonix (61 games) and Columbus (21 games). He was traded at the 10-11′ deadline, Pheonix packaged Upshall with defenseman Sami Lepisto and sent them to Columbus in exchange for Rostislav Klesla and minor leaguer Dane Byers.
Upshall is a talented scorer that Dale Tallon would add to the Panthers given the chance. At 27, Upshall is right in the sweet spot, not too young to make rookie mistakes, not too old to be sidelined with injury. Seasoned by 8 years and some playoff experience, Scottie Upshall could provide some stability on the wing. He won’t score more than 30 goals, but he will bring the body, grit, and determination that Tallon is looking for.
With the recent addition of Tomas Kopecky (although I think his contract is awful) the Panthers could have him a line mate in Scottie Upshall. Tallon has lots of money to spend. The cap floor is set at 48 million. While the Panthers still have a good amount to spend, they have many players to still sign. It is going to be a busy few weeks, but very exciting for Panthers fans, as this team is growing into a contender.
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