Here at The Cannon, we're obviously focusing a keen eye on the off-season. We've spent the past several weeks highlighting draft prospects for the upcoming entry draft next weekend, and having done that we decided to turn to the Jackets' roster, specifically the free agents. With this off-season being such a make or break time, we wanted to highlight each of the organizations free agents and try to come to determinations as whether the team should keep them or let them go. All contract information is courtesy of CapGeek.com.
First up is winger Scottie Upshall.
Name: Scottie Upshall
2010-2011 Salary/Cap Hit: $2.25 million / $2.25 million
Last Three Years' Stats:
Upshall came to Columbus at the trade deadline from Phoenix along with defenseman Sami Lepisto in exchange for defenseman Rostislav Klesla. After the trade, Upshall played 21 games for Columbus, scoring six goals and adding an assist. Should he stay, or should he go?
What's He Worth?
Upshall is a hard player to nail down in terms of his worth and value. On one hand, he put up his career-best total in goals this year. On the other hand, he had just two more points than in '09-'10 despite playing in 33 more games. Upshall is one of those players who can fill a number of roles admirably, though he doesn't fill any one role exceptionally. He's not a guy that will help on the Power Play, with just 14 goals and 12 assists on the man advantage throughout his career dating back to '02-'03. For Columbus, he spent time on the second line and on the third line. He brings speed, effort, and a willingness to get under the skin of the opponents, and while he's not a super defender (third line) and not a pure scorer (second line), he does enough of each to be an effective guy.
He made $2.25 million this past season, and is looking for a raise. Purely in terms of '10-'11 stats, the players Upshall most closely compares to are Brian Boyle of the Rangers (entry level deal, $550,000 this season), Cal Clutterbuck or the Wild (two more years with a cap hit of $1.4 million), Milan Michalek of the Senators (three more years with a cap hit of $4.33 million), and Dominic Moore of the Lightning (one more year, $1.2 million). Obviously, it's not easy to set someone's value in this manner, but this gives you an idea how much other teams are spending for the type of production Upshall provides.
What Should The CBJ Offer?
It would make sense that the Jackets would make an offer to Upshall, given that he played well enough for Columbus after coming over in the deal. Given his time in the league, he's due to make more than a guy like Boyle, but he's probably not worth as much as Michalek. A few players to whom Upshall compares in terms of cap hit are Andrew Brunette (18/28/46) and Blake Wheeler (18/26/44). To that end, Upshall is pretty close to what he's worth.
Obviously, you give a guy a raise, as he's still 27. But, how much? Given the CBJ's needs this off-season and their overall budget, I would set the CBJ's ceiling for Upshall at three years for $10 or $11 million.