Upshall, a 2002 1st round draft pick by the Nashville Predators, has been in the NHL since he was 19.
The 31-year-old forward scored eight goals and seven assists through 63 games for the Florida Panthers last season. He’s had some struggles in recent years, but that didn’t happen in the year before last when he scored 15 goals and 22 assists for the Cats.
Part of that shift was a swing in usage, certainly. He went from playing a little north of 12:40 in even strength time per game in the 2013-14 season, while getting 1.9% ZSO%Rel to getting about 10:50 in even strength time last season with a -0.9% ZSO%Rel. (The ZSO%Rel is emblematic of his place on the team more than anything, since his total ZSO% between the two seasons is roughly the same.)
He also lost over a minute a game in average power play time between the two seasons.
The Blues are hoping that a stronger team might help him rekindle a bit of that touch, should he find a way to earn a contract during camp this month.
Lots of familiar names are taking PTOs this season. Keep up with all the tryout contracts with The Hockey Writers’ 2015 PTO Tracker.
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.