COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have acquired forward Scottie Upshall and defenseman Sami Lepisto from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for defenseman Rostislav Klesla and forward Dane Byers, Blue Jackets Executive Vice President and General Manager Scott Howson announced February 28.
Upshall, 27, has registered 80 goals and 85 assists for 165 points with 315 penalty minutes and a cumulative +36 plus/minus rating in 340 career NHL games with Nashville, Philadelphia and Phoenix. He has tallied 16-11-27, 42 penalty minutes and is +5 in 61 games with the Coyotes this season.
The Fort McMurray, Alberta native was Nashville’s first pick, sixth overall, in the 2002 Entry Draft. He spent parts of four seasons in the Predators organization before joining the Flyers during the 2006-07 campaign. The following year he notched 14-16-30 and 74 penalty minutes in 61 games and added 3-4-7 and 44 penalty minutes in 17 playoff games to help Philadelphia advance to the 2008 Eastern Conference Final. He joined Phoenix during the 2008-09 season and combined for a career-high 15-19-34 and 89 penalty minutes in 74 games. In 2009-10, he set a career high for goals with 18-14-32 and 50 penalty minutes in just 49 games. He is on pace to record his fourth-straight season with at least 14 goals and 30-plus points.
Prior to turning professional, Upshall spent three seasons with the Kamloops Blazers of the Western Hockey League. He registered 99-127-226 and 361 penalty minutes in 173 career WHL games from 2000-03. He earned WHL All-Rookie, WHL Rookie of the Year, CHL All-Rookie and Canadian Major Junior Rookie of the Year honors in 2000-01 and was a WHL West Second All-Star Team pick in 2001-02.
Lepisto, 26, has registered 5-22-27, 115 penalty minutes and is +17 in 131 career NHL games with Washington and Phoenix. He has collected a career-high 4-7-11 with 37 penalty minutes and is +7 in 51 games with the Coyotes this season.
Lepisto was Washington's sixth pick, 66th overall, in the 2004 Entry Draft. He split the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons between Washington, where he picked up 0-5-5 and 18 penalty minutes in 14 games, and Hershey of the American Hockey League, where he notched 8-79-87 and 131 penalty minutes in 125 games. In 2009-10, he collected 1-10-11, 60 penalty minutes and was +7 in 66 games with Phoenix in his first full NHL season.
A native of Espoo, Finland, he played four seasons with Jokerit Helsinki from 2003-07, collecting 19-52-71 and 164 penalty minutes in 190 games. He played for Team Finland at the 2010 Olympic Games, tallying 0-1-1 and six penalty minutes in six games and winning a bronze medal. Lepisto also won a bronze medal for Finland at the 2008 World Championships and at the 2004 World Junior Championships, where he tallied 4-4-8 in seven games and was named the tournament’s Best Defenseman and to the All-Star Team.
Klesla was the Blue Jackets' first draft pick, fourth overall, in the 2000 Entry Draft. He registered 41-92-133 and 508 penalty minutes in 515 career games, which ranks as the third-most appearances in club history. He has tallied 3-7-10 and 26 penalty minutes in 45 games this season. Byers, who was acquired from the New York Rangers in November, has collected 12-22-34 and 120 penalty minutes in 64 AHL games with Springfield and Connecticut this season.
The Blue Jackets return to action on Tuesday when they visit the Vancouver Canucks. Game time from Rogers Arena is 10 p.m. ET. Live coverage on FOX Sports Ohio HD begins with the Blue Jackets Live pre-game show starting at 9:30 p.m. The game will also be broadcast live on the Wheeling Island Hotel & Casino Blue Jackets Radio Network – including flagship station CD101.1 at 102.5 FM – and online at BlueJackets.com.
Single-game tickets for Blue Jackets home games, starting at $22, are on sale at the Nationwide Arena Ticket Office, The FOX Sports Ohio Blue Line Team Store at The Mall at Tuttle Crossing, ticket outlets at the Chiller Ice Rinks and all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers. Fans can also purchase tickets by phone at (800) 745-3000 or online at BlueJackets.com and Ticketmaster.com. For information on season tickets, a variety of partial-season plans and group tickets, call (800) NHL-COLS or visit BlueJackets.com.