On the same morning Vancouver lost depth center Andrew Ebbett to the Penguins, they replaced him with another vagabond. Let's meet Mike Santorelli.
#15 / Winnipeg Jets
Dec 14, 1985
|2012 - Mike Santorelli||34||2||2||4||-12||2||0||0||0||35|
Described as a skilled but undersized playmaker, Santorelli was drafted by the Predators 178th overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, that same draft where Cam Barker somehow went third and some chump named Cory Schneider was taken at 26th by your fair Canucks. In 208 games with Nashville, Florida and Winnipeg, Santorelli's gone 33-26-59 with a beautiful -52.
His best season by far was 2010-2011 in Florida when he played the full 82 games, had the highest TOI/60 (12.22) and best Corsi Rel QoC (0.731) of his career en route to 40 points (20-21). More importantly and as PITB pointed out, he was centering David Booth at the time. That's worth noting considering Jason Botchford's hunch yesterday that Kassian will start with the Sedins, Burrows will re-unite with Kesler and Higgins on the second line with Booth shifting to the third line where, presumably, Santorelli gets a shot at calling home.
In his short time on the Jets he seemed to gel with Burmistrov and Tangradi on the third line which drove the play well but didn't contribute much offensively (sound familiar?). Here's Arctic Ice Hockey's take on the right-handed center they only saw for 10 games last season:
Santorelli is an interesting case. Only one season did he post legitimate middle-6 P/60, which was also the only season where he had a normal On-Ice SH% but also a negative Corsi. While Santorelli is an inconsistent scorer he can also contribute to wins by winning draws and scoring in shoot-outs.
Seems like a decent - if not horribly streaky but, hey, this is Vancouver we're talking about - gamble for the bottom six no matter where he lands. If he does end up centering Booth maybe there's a way to reignite the chemistry they had a few seasons ago which could push the team back to the promised land of three scoring lines. Failing that he's another brick in the wall as GMMG continues to flush out the ranks with low-level signings.