June 16 2013 09:51AM
Screencap via hockeyfights.com,
Tom Sestito can punch a face. You could even say he's good at face-punching (though Hockeyfights.com voters appear to disagree). People seem to like that and I like a good tilt, too, and some even think it's a necessary skill required by Natioanl Hockey League hockey teams.
So some people are probably happy with the Canucks re-upping Sestito for two years at $750,000 per season. Because Tom Sestito can punch a face.
Unfortunately, Tom Sestito isn't particularly good at hockey.
You see, more important than even fighters are good hockey players. You can argue that the price is small and won't have an impact, but as Thomas Drance put it the other day, moves at the margin add up. There is an awful lot that goes into managing a hockey team and cap management is a big part of that. With that in mind here are some issues I have with the Sestito signing:
- The Canucks don't have a coach yet. The team shouldn't really be making moves until that's figured out. What if the new bench boss isn't the type to employ a scrap-only player?
- Tom Sestito isn't good at hockey. I mentioned this earlier but it's worth repeating. Sestito's Corsi Rel has been atrocious every single year, indicating that he's regularly been one of the worst players on his team. His basic Corsi has also been awful despite playing against really bad players, on average. He is also objectively bad beyond the statistics.
- To the eyes, he also isn't good at hockey.
- The Canucks are really tight to the cap. It's fine to fill the end of the bench with role players at a low cost, but this is a deal that absolutely could have been made a few weeks or months from now. In the interim, they've tied up assets and flexibility by committing a roster spot and a bit of cash to a player who is largely inconsequential.
- There are probably guys available at a similar price who can punch a face and also play some hockey. This is my biggest complaint about the Sestito signing (or the Colt Knorr signing for the Leafs) - there are guys out there who are scrappy or gritty or whatever you want to call it, can drop the mitts and are capable penalty killers or third liners or what have you.
Now, to be fair, here are some things I like about the signing:
*file footage not found
Look, I understand some teams, fans and coaches will want a guy at the end of the bench who can "go." These guys exist, whether I like it or not. If the Canucks wanted a Sestito eventually, I wouldn't argue. But to do it this early, with a second year guaranteed, and with so much uncertainty still surrounding the team, was a mistake in my view.