I have to say, when I first read about Upshall (and a 2nd) being traded for Carcillo I was pretty upset. Having given things time to digest, I'm not so upset. While I think the Yotes may have gotten the best of Homer on this one, this could end up working out ok for the Flyers.
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While I really loved what Upshall brought to the team and believe he has a higher ceiling than Carcillo in terms of point production, Carcillo brings some assets to the table. He plays with more of an edge to his game, while still having some offensive upside. He's a great agitator and replaces some of what was lost in trading away Downie, while also upgrading the enforcer role with his considerable pugilistic acumen. He'll throw down with most anyone and, unlike current enforcer Riley Cote, Carcillo usually gets the best of his opponents.
Though not as fast as Upshall, Carcillo is no slouch out there and can skate and bring energy to go with his occasional scoring. He tends to be at his best when engaging physically, which seems to stoke his fire and drive his offensive production. Now, some have said this about Joffrey Lupul, but I don't think it applies. Lupul has enough talent to be effective, even when he's not being particularly physical, he just needs to bring a consistent effort to every shift, Carcillo it seems, may be the type that really needs to be physical to be effective out there.
Some observers think that Gretzky's attempt at changing his style this season, trying to turn him into more of a scorer, may have actually set him back a bit, by reeling in his aggression and thus cramping his true and most effective style. It makes sense when you consider his production has dropped off this season versus last, though he did tend to produce when playing with talent like Jokinen and Mueller...so it will be interesting to see how Carcillo plays with the likes of Carter Briere Giroux Powe Asham etc.
I think the key for Carcillo will be for him to play with that menacing edge while maintaining discipline and picking his spots carefully, so as to avoid taking unnecessary penalties, something the Flyers certainly don't need from him and something that probably wouldn't be tolerated for long. I expect that he might struggle with this early as he tries to find his identity and role on the team, so some patience may be required here. With the playoff race heating up I don't know if a lot of leeway will be given to him in this regard...I could easily see him taking some bad penalties where goals are socred against and the fans quickly turning on him. I'm hoping for everyone's sake he can find that balance, so as to avoid having to bear such a wrath...it could get ugly.
Scottie was a favorite of mine and had been since he became a Flyer. I think he has nice upside and it's really tough to see him go, but alas, the NHL is a business and Holmgren had to do what he had to do. Carcillo makes a little less (331k less per yr.) than Upshall does now and probably a lot less than what he'll be making next season, so, it gives the Flyers just a bit more breathing space to make certain maneuvers should it be necessary. I'd like to think that if the cap wasn't an issue here that this deal wouldn't have been made...but regardless, what's done is done. Upshall's a Coyote, and Carcillo is a Flyer. May they both do well!
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