Canucks Claim Massive Winger Tom Sestito

Thomas Drance
March 01 2013 11:14AM


Tom Sestito and Zack Kassian have some level of familiarity.

In the wake of the Volpatti affair, and the negative suckholism that has infected the tenor of the conversation about the Canucks in the Vancouver sports market this week, it appears that the Canucks were in the market to add a one some toughness. They did so using the waiver wire today, claiming 6,5 228 pound enforcer Tom Sestito (not to be confused with former teammate Tim Sestito) who was placed on waivers by the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.

Read on past the jump.

Tom Sestito has played in 33 NHL games over the past five seasons, and generally speaking (based on the possession data and his ice-time) has the look of a one-dimensional enforcer. That said, Sestito had performed better than expected so far this season and had a huge game against the Tampa Bay Lightning in early February in which he scored two goals. Also, during the lockout, he injured a guy in the British League so there's that.

Here's an odd Canucks connection. Last season Tom Sestito fought Canucks winger Zack Kassian, and Kassian injured the Flyers forward in the bout. Sestito ended up with a groin tear and missed nearly two months of action as a result.

There isn't much analysis we can really do because Sestito has played a grand total of 189 even-strength minutes at the NHL level since 2007-08. A cursory glance at the fossil record suggests that he's been very much underwater in sheltered minutes in those thirty-three games. One positive we might take away from the data is that he hasn't taken too many minor penalties over the past couple of years, and if he can keep that up while playing a physical game on the fourth line that would be pretty cool, I guess. On the other hand, Sestito was suspended during the 2011 preseason for a filthy hit on Andre Deveaux and he narrowly avoided the Shanaban hammer later on in the season for a 'blindside hit' against Bruins forward Nathan Horton.

In terms of the fisticuffs, Sestito has the goods. He's a heavyweight no matter how you slice it. In 2010-11 he fought a barbaric 18 times in fifty-seven AHL games, and on February 5th 2012 he fought three seperate New York Rangers (Brandon Dubinsky, Stu Bickel and Brandon Prust). I find both of those facts to be ridiculous. Over the past three seasons he's fough thirteen times in the NHL and has compiled a 7-5-1 record in those bouts according to hockeyfights.com voters.

Ultimately Tom Sestito doesn't have much of a track record and he'll probably perform at a replacement level (or slightly below) for the Canucks in limited fourth-line minutes. His AHL production is decent so maybe he can become a Volpatti-type fixture, but I'd say he's a modest downgrade on Volpatti as a hockey player and a modest upgrade on Volpatti in terms of weight-class and martial ability.

I'd suspected that the Canucks might use the waiver wire today, but I was thinking more along the lines of Tom Wandell: a play driving fourth line centreman from Sweden who can't win face-offs and has next to zero physical upside. Guess the Canucks felt they needed some "toughness" more than they needed some free bottom-six centre depth, which makes sense I guess.

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Thomas Drance lives in Toronto, eats spicy food and writes about hockey. He is an NHL News Editor at theScore, the ex-managing editor of CanucksArmy.com and an opinionated blowhard to boot. You can follow him on twitter @thomasdrance.
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#1 John Andress
March 01 2013, 01:44PM
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I thought that we were looking for a centre, not a knuckle chucker. Is this the Canucks reverting to the lowest common denominator? I hope not.

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#2 KleptoKlown
March 01 2013, 02:24PM
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Even as a 13th forward, it's nice to have a straight up goon. Fighting is up in the NHL so far, and adding a bit of toughness won't hurt.

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#3 .
March 01 2013, 06:10PM
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I don't quite get this move, while Volpatti's loss is being overstated by some I don't see how replacing him with Sestito makes this team any better. I wonder if this is maybe just Gillis trying to get a heavyweight to replace Kassian so he doesn't injure himself while fighting.

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#4 yo
March 02 2013, 01:12AM
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^^ probably it.

I wouldnt want Kassian to fight the heavyweights or feel pressured to do so. Lucic rarely fights and i want Kassian to be like that. I'd rather Kassian use his reputation and size to intimidate players from cheap shotting the Sedins/Kesler/Burrows rather than fight every single heavyweight that challenges him.

Sesitito seems like he's more than willing and he's a goon, not depth or a gritty forward, straight up goon. I love this pickup.

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