Jul 3, 2014, 3:02 PM EST
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:
Santorelli can play wing or centre, so this ends the negotiation with veteran centre David Legwand. Leafs still have $4-5 mil cap space.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) July 3, 2014
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