Canucks Player Autopsy: Tom Sestito

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Spor

It speaks volumes about the kind of year the Canucks had that so much time was spent talking about this guy, doesn't it?

Who's this guy?

Tom Sestito.

Position: LW

Shoots: Left

Height: 6'5''

Weight: 228 lbs

Born: September 28, 1987 in Rome, NY

Drafted: 85th overall, 2006 Columbus Blue Jackets

The debate raged on all season when it came to Mr. Sestito: Valuable 4th line contributor, or Boxing Hobo on Skates (more on that later)?  Is there more to this guy than just being a so-so fighter?  While the mention of his goal scoring prowess in junior became a running joke amongst Canucks fans, Sestito did actually display a pretty good set of hands for a face puncher.  This was his first full season in the NHL, and for a guy who's bounced between the NHL and AHL with a couple different teams, you can say he made the most of his opportunity this season. The question I think we're asking ourselves right now, is why we traded away Dale Weise to keep Sestito. Was this an upgrade? Nope. So why, then? Who was his coach when he played for the Range... oh, right. Thanks, Torts.

What'd he do?

Well, for starters he led the league in penalty minutes, so there's that.  A lot of his minutes came from fighting majors and 10 minute misconducts, so unlike some Canucks players he was usually taking someone off with him and not putting them short handed.  He saw some time on the Canucks woeful power play this season, and didn't look as bad as you would think there.  Considering the concerns that the Canucks have had in recent years in the toughness department, and players willing to respond when opposing players take liberties with the Sedins and others. He led the league in this category as well, dropping the gloves 19 times. Sestito's problem was that he was just marginally better than Dale Weise when it came to winning the tilts, getting just 6 nods over at Hockeyfights.com.

So was he any good?

Season Games Points SH% Corsi For% Fenwick For % O/D/St%
2013-2014 77 9 16.1 44.6 45.3 25.0
2012-2013 30 3 21.4 43.3 29.1 22.1
2011-2012 14 1 0.0 49 33.4 37.8

Tom saw a little time in the top 6 this season, as much a testament to his hard work as it was John Tortorella throwing out line combinations to find something that worked.  His QoC TOI% was 26.6% which was at the bottom of the list for the Canucks. His shooting percentage, small sample size and all was tops on the team though, so it makes you wonder if that was part of the thinking behind getting him more minutes?

What'd we like?

Tommy goes toe to toe with a guy who should have had the book thrown at him for ending Andrew Alberts' season with this gutless headshot.

A nice shift here with Richardson and Kassian. This is where you see that there's potential with Sestito. Battles for position, gets into the slot unchecked and one-times the pass behind Crawford.

That line clicks again, this time against Anaheim.  Once again, that's a nice set of hands as he converts the Richardson pass on the rush.


This one made me laugh, because there's so much going on in it.  You get the kick the puck to his stick to slide the rebound in, the jersey tug celebration, the eyeroll from Flyers coach Craig Berube and the chirp to his former team as he skates by the bench.


Cool. So what did we hate?

That depends on who you ask.  Some feel Sestito is the worst player in the NHL.  Others feel for what his role is, and the fact that you can put him into different spots, he's not as bad as some think. He's also not as good as some think, and  Also, while I had no problem with him going after Jordan Nolan, who in that game against the Kings was one of a number of Kings taking runs at Henrik Sedin, I hated how that was blown out of proportion.  I am a fan of Keith Olbermann's work as a sportscaster and a journalist, but the way he came after Sestito, completely ignoring the context of the situation reeked of something you'd see out of Fox And Friends and not a respected journalist.

So what now?

Well, while Sestito may have improved, and may not actually be the worst player in the NHL, with the push on for the Canucks to get younger, faster and better, you have to think that Sestito's days of playing in the AHL are not a thing of the past.  Given the way Weise is playing for Montreal in the playoffs, that choice made to ship him out, and keep Sestito is looking worse all the time.  Hard work is great, but as this team's core gets older, a talent infusion is what's needed to move them back to where they were just a couple years ago.  Tom Sestito may be a good guy, willing to fight, and pop the occasional goal, but the Canucks need more than what he brings to the table, even from the 4th line.

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