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Leafs sign Santorelli: one year, $1.5 million

Jul 3, 2014, 3:02 PM EDT

Mike Santorelli AP

Toronto continued to add depth down the middle on Thursday — after acquiring Finnish center Petri Kontiola from the KHL, the Leafs signed former Canuck Mike Santorelli to a one-year, $1.5 million deal, per TSN.

Santorelli, 28, is an interesting case. He has two very good seasons on his resume: in 2010-11, he had 20 goals and 41 points in 82 games for Florida; last year, he had 10 goals and 28 points in 48 games for Vancouver before suffering a season-ending shoulder surgery.

Between those seasons, though, Santorelli’s had his struggles.

He fell out of favor in Florida following his breakout campaign and spent time with the club’s AHL affiliate in San Antonio before moving to Winnipeg, where he was equally ineffective — just one assist in 10 games for the Jets.

Brought into Vancouver last season on a modest one-year, $550,000 deal, Santorelli got off to a tremendous start — in early December he sat fourth in team scoring, with 21 points in 32 games, and the Rogers Arena faithful were chanting his name. Surgery in late January ended his year, though, and a new deal with the Canucks couldn’t be reached this summer despite the fact Santorelli, a Vancouver native, said he “100 percent” wanted to stick with the organization.

As mentioned above, Santorelli gives the Leafs more depth down the middle but can also play out wide if need be. Regardless of where he lines up, it sounds like Toronto won’t be looking for any more centers — or, to be accurate, one particular veteran center:

  1. loinstache - Jul 3, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    Shame the Canucks couldn’t bring him back considering how insubstantial that contract is. That said they have already have a logjam of fringe third liners as it is and I’m sure Benning doesn’t want to take any chance with the remaining ~7m in cap space as Kassian, Vey and Tanev need new contracts.

    If he works as hard as he did for Vancouver last year (which he has to to prove himself given his string of bad luck) then Toronto is getting a very serviceable and versatile player who can move anywhere in the bottom 9 in most situations.

    • kaptaanamerica - Jul 4, 2014 at 3:42 AM

      Listening to that turd Darren Dreger on the Toronto radio station today, he said some people believe Santorelli didn’t get a fair shake under tortellini. What a joke. Dreger has no clue. The guy played in all situations and had more minutes than the Sedins on many nights. Not sure what planet Dreger lives on….

      • kaptaanamerica - Jul 4, 2014 at 3:45 AM

        Dreger is always full of shiite as far as i can tell whenever it comes to the Canucks.

  2. micasa81 - Jul 3, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    I was thinking the only reason nobody was scooping him up was because he was asking too much. This deal is great for Toronto. If he was trying to get 2 years from Vancouver, would it really have been horrible to give him, say, 2 years @ 1.25 mil per? Especially considering that they’re pretty damned thin down the middle now?

    Overall, I’m glad he got himself another deal. He certainly earned it.

  3. nobandwagoners - Jul 3, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    It’s a good pick-up and affordable signing by the Leafs. I’m disappointed somewhat that the Canucks didn’t resign him although maybe now the centre position is adequately filled.

    Santorelli was performing very well last season prior to his shoulder injury. I’d say he was one of the more consistent and effective forwards for the Canucks. If he can perform the same way for the Leafs as he was playing for the Canucks, then Nonis will have hit a home run in finding depth at centre. Good luck to Santorelli.

  4. 19to77 - Jul 3, 2014 at 4:23 PM

    Really, for that little, Benning didn’t bring him back? This is just a one-year deal for practically nothing that nets you a very versatile player. And a local boy to boot! I’d rather have Santorelli at $1.5m than Dorsett at $1.6m.

  5. thatguytml92 - Jul 3, 2014 at 4:27 PM

    I wonder what this means for holland…

    • dueman - Jul 3, 2014 at 7:35 PM

      Toronto is still short on left wing, so as long as all these guys are healthy, I’m sure at least one of them can play that position. Holland showed his worth last year, so I’m sure that he will still make the team….

  6. bleedrangerblue - Jul 3, 2014 at 4:40 PM

    Really over Dorsett?? Really are you high?? No just kidding. Watched Dorsett All last year. Your right i agree with you.

  7. thatguytml92 - Jul 3, 2014 at 8:41 PM

    They signed back Bodie, giving them jvr lupul komarov and Bodie on the left, bozak kadri the new Finnish guy and santerelli, on the right kessel clarkson frattin and orr? No room for holland to play any significant time at all unless there’s an injury. Let him captain the marlies and try to dominate the ahl I guess

    • elrock7 - Jul 3, 2014 at 8:59 PM

      Im sure it will be an all-out competition between these guys. I wouldn’t count Holland out, in fact I think a spot is his, until Santorelli or the Finn prove better than him.

      • j22j - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:34 PM

        Also, I’m not convinced Orr will be a regular in the lineup. Plus injuries…..Lotsa room for Holland.

    • withseidelinn - Jul 3, 2014 at 9:42 PM

      I’d say they’ll put him on the 4th line way ahead of Orr. Carlyle said he wants to have a bottom six (and particularly a 4th line) that he can roll for 8-10 mins a night. If Holland is going to be on the 4th, I’d say they’ll want him contributing in one way or another and not riding pine all night.

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