Restricted free agent Scottie Upshall agreed to a two-year, $2.45 million contract with the Flyers late Thursday night.
The right winger is one of the Flyers' building blocks on their top two lines as general manager Paul Holmgren remakes the roster this summer. The club is expected to pursue unrestricted free agents Danny Briere and possibly Scott Gomez or Chris Drury. All are forwards.
Upshall, 23, will earn $1.2 million this season and $1.25 million next season. General manager Paul Holmgren said last week he wasn't certain whether he would merely give Upshall a qualifying offer or a long-term deal because of the uncertainty about Upshall's market value.
So what changed Holmgren's mind with this contract?
"We felt that this was a fair number for both sides at this time on a two-year deal," Holmgren said. "Now we're just kind of touching base with some of our other Group II free agents to see where they are at."
That would include Ben Eager, Dmitri Afanasenkov, Antero Niittymaki, Joni Pitkanen, Lasse Kukkonen, Ryan Potulney and Riley Cote.
Last season, Upshall scored six goals and seven assists in 18 games with the Flyers. He was the surprise part of the Peter Forsberg deal, which also included highly regarded defensive prospect Ryan Parent.
"We were very pleased with Scottie's performance after we acquired him midway through last season and we're glad to have him locked up in our organization for the next couple of seasons," Holmgren said. "It was a priority for us to get this deal done as soon as possible so we can continue to move forward with our off-season plans."
Upshall wanted more than a qualifier.
"This gives me an opportunity to be here for two years and just compete, get settled in, and have a solid year, which is what I wanted to do," Upshall said. "I'm really happy to be part of the future here.
"They said they wanted me to get comfortable with hockey. Last year was such a whirlwind for me with the [groin] injury in November, then being out until after Christmas and then getting traded to the Flyers."
Upshall said the rehab on his separated left shoulder was coming along well and he expected to be fully healthy for training camp. He plans to buy a house in South Jersey in the months ahead.