Scottie Upshall, LW, St. Louis Blues
Considering that Scottie Upshall had to settle for a professional tryout deal with the Blues rather than receiving a guaranteed contract prior to the 2015-16 season, expectations weren’t exactly sky-high for the then 31-year-old forward as he came into training camp. Upshall impressed, though, beating out players such as Magnus Paajarvi and Ty Rattie to earn a spot on the Blues’ opening roster last fall.
After seeing occasional action as a replacement for injured players during the first half of last season, Upshall truly discovered his niche after the new year as the left wing on the Blues’ fourth line. Upshall found a way to combine speed, physicality, consistent energy, and a touch of offensive skill to make more of an impact than anyone else had in a long while, helping to move the Blues’ fourth line into the “new age” by making it a legitimate scoring threat rather than just a checking line.
After collecting six goals and eight assists over 70 games in 2015-16 (plus a goal and two assists in 17 playoff games), Upshall received a one-year extension from the Blues and has returned to play a very important role on the fourth line in 2016-17. Through 27 games, Upshall has three goals and three assists. That’s a pretty solid turnaround for a veteran who looked to be on his last legs and couldn’t even get a guaranteed deal heading into last season.
Let us know who you think the best under-the-radar performer of 2016 was, and check back next week to see who wins!