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Flyers pick up Carcillo in exchange for Upshall

by Adam Kimelman
The Philadelphia Flyers always have been known as an extremely tough team, and on Wednesday they upped that quotient considerably.

The Flyers acquired forward Daniel Carcillo, who leads the League with 174 penalty minutes, from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for forward Scottie Upshall and a 2011 second-round draft pick.

"Daniel Carcillo is a good player who happens to be tough and aggressive," said Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren. "We think he can play in our top nine. The fans are going to love him."

"A lot of things that Danny brought to the table you hate to give up," said Coyotes assistant GM Brad Treliving. "He was a gritty guy. He's tougher than a night in jail, this kid. He'll fight anywhere at anytime, but we felt it was time for a change. If there is a team made for Danny Carcillo, or a player made for the Philadelphia Flyers ... I think they are one in the same. I think he's going to go there and have success."

Beside the penalty minutes, Carcillo has 3 goals and 10 points in 53 games this season. Last season, Carcillo had a League-leading 324 penalty minutes, the most anyone has had since Peter Worrell had 354 in 2001-02. Carcillo also had 13 goals, making him just the 20th player ever to post a 10-goal/300-penalty minute season, and the first since Matthew Barnaby in 1995-96.

Carcillo was moved from a fourth-line role last season to a third-line role, but disappointed coach Wayne Gretzky by taking what were referred to as selfish penalties.

Holmgren recognized that Carcillo needs to play with greater discipline, but believes coach John Stevens and his staff will be able to keep Carcillo pointed in the right direction.

"He needs to be a hockey player first and that's what we'll stress right form the start," Holmgren said. "John is going to pick him up at the airport and we'll start that process with him. He's a good player and sometimes he gets a little over-exuberant and we'll try to rein him in right away."

Holmgren said that while the Flyers were linked to a number of big-name players -- most notably defensemen Chris Pronger and Jay Bouwmeester -- the Flyers didn't have the salary-cap space to accommodate a big-ticket player.

"Everything you talk about, you have to weigh the costs and the ramifications for now and the future," said Holmgren.

He also stressed that he liked the core of a team that made a surprise run to last spring's Eastern Conference Finals and currently is fourth in the Eastern Conference, three points ahead of fifth-place Montreal following Tuesday's win against conference-leading Boston.

"We weren't really pushing to make any big deals because at the end of the day we like our team," said Holmgren.

Upshall had been a solid part of that team, scoring 7 goals and 21 points in 55 games this season. He had been one of the main components of the 2007 trade that sent Peter Forsberg to the Nashville Predators.

"Scottie wanted to be here," said Holmgren. "I get emotional when I talk to players in that situation. He's been here for two years and he's been a good member of our organization. He's given a lot and it's hard to let him go."

As important as Carcillo is to the Flyers' stretch drive, the deal also saves the Flyers more than $200,000 in cap space, something vital for a team that recently had to subtract four players from the roster just to activate Danny Briere from the injured list.

"We have a little more flexibility where we can expand our roster if we need to without having to do other things," Holmgren said.

The Flyers also acquired defenseman Kyle McLaren from the San Jose Sharks for a 2009 sixth-round pick.

The ninth pick of the 1995 Entry Draft by the Bruins, McLaren has 207 points in 719 games in 12 seasons with the Bruins and Sharks. He was waived in training camp and has spent all season with the AHL Worcester Sharks. Out since Dec. 17 due to injuries, he has just 6 assists and 17 penalty minutes in 17 games. Holmgren said when McLaren is healthy enough to play, he will suit up with the Philadelphia Phantoms, the Flyers' AHL team.

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