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They were chanting Mike Santorelli’s name last night in Vancouver

Dec 9, 2013, 12:29 PM EDT

Avalanche Canucks Hockey AP

It wasn’t the loudest chant you’ll ever hear; they rarely are at Rogers Arena. But there was no mistaking the name of the fans’ favorite during Vancouver’s 3-1 victory last night over Colorado  — San-to-rel-li.

As in, Mike Santorelli. Formerly of the Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers. Had a brief, unsuccessful stint with Winnipeg last season. The Canucks signed him to a two-way deal in July, with the expectation he was bound for the farm team in Utica.

Turns out expectations were a tad low. Not only did Santorelli — a Vancouver native, by the way — make the big club, the 27-year-old forward now sits fourth in team scoring, with 21 points in 32 games.

Santorelli figured on all three Canucks goals versus the Avs, scoring two of them and setting up Ryan Kesler‘s 15th.

Speaking of which, his apparent chemistry with Kesler is another bonus, given the elusiveness of that particular pursuit for Canuck management. But the chemistry makes sense. Santorelli is a good puck distributor, which isn’t something you’d call Kesler, who’s more of a puck taker.

Santorelli is also a pending unrestricted free agent who should be in for a nice raise next season, particularly if he can keep producing at the same rate for the Canucks. And he did have 20 goals and 21 assists for the Panthers in 2010-11, so it would be unfair to call what he’s doing now a fluke. It’s just, nobody really heard about him when he was in Florida.

Related: Santorelli impressing Torts in Vancouver

  1. nuckss - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    Is good puck distributor the same thing as good passer?

    • imleftcoast - Dec 9, 2013 at 12:52 PM

      Must be more analogous to a Pez dispenser: maybe not passing so much as kicking and deflecting pucks to others?

    • davebabychreturns - Dec 9, 2013 at 3:33 PM

      I’d say that a “good puck distributor” is a smart passer whereas a “good passer” isn’t necessarily.

      In other words Santorelli is not just a talented passer but a player with good vision and a high hockey IQ – he effectively moves the puck to his teammates and he moves it to the right ones at the right times.

      (Kelser of course, just bulls his way into the zone and puts it on net – valuable too but a very different skill set.)

  2. micasa81 - Dec 9, 2013 at 1:27 PM

    I’ve railed against Gillis plenty, but he has made some nice pickups. This is shaping up to be one of his best.

  3. cambannedloinstache - Dec 9, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    Higgins – Santorelli – Kesler has been dominant when combined, pretty excellent to see considering the frequent line shuffling under Torts. You can tell the Sedins and whoever the extra winger is when they float into the zone and set up a cycle; Kesler and co hops over and it’s immediately at the net with keeping possession after the attempt.

  4. elvispocomo - Dec 9, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    I didn’t think he’d be AHL bound, but I certainly felt he’d have to do well to be anything other than the 13th forward to start the year. He’s definitely done enough to prove me wrong there.

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