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Predators sign top pick Upshall

Oct. 7, 2002 at 9:37 PM   |   Comments

NASHVILLE, Oct. 7 (UPI) -- Right wing Scottie Upshall, the sixth overall pick in the NHL draft, signed with the Nashville Predators on Monday, beating a 3 p.m. EDT deadline.

"Scottie has done everything that we could ask for, both on and off the ice," general manager David Poile said. "He deserves to be signed today and to be in our lineup. He looks like he has a good head on his shoulders and is very intelligent."

Upshall tied for the team scoring lead in the preseason with a goal and four assists in five games. The Predators had until 3 p.m. to sign him or lose him to his junior team for the rest of the season.

"I don't think I could ask for a better birthday present," said Upshall, who is 19. "Waking up this morning, there was still some decisions to be made. As of right now, I am probably the happiest camper."

Nicknamed "Devil Boy" because he plays bigger than his 5-11, 176-pound frame, Upshall had 32 goals and 51 assists in 61 games last season with Kamloops of the Western Hockey League.

"Every (preseason) game, there were ideas in your head whether or not you are going to fit in," Upshall said. "Every game, I just wanted to go out and prove (I could) be a player, to play on this hockey club and contribute to their success."

First-round picks Rick Nash of Columbus and Jay Bouwmeester of Florida also beat Monday's deadline and signed NHL contracts.

© 2002 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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