The Vancouver Canucks have made another depth signing this morning, inking centreman Mike Santorelli to a deal with terms that are undisclosed at the moment. The signing was first reported by 1130 Sports, I believe. At least, they were first in my timeline:
#Canucks have announced the signing of depth forward Mike Santorelli
— News1130 Sports (@News1130Sports) July 6, 2013
The Province has a story up and the Canucks have confirmed the signing via their website.
While Santorelli might have a "meh" player card, he fills a couple of important niche roles that could be of value for the Canucks:
*He’s 10-for-19 in shootouts in his career.
*He won 28 of his 42 faceoffs in limited action with Winnipeg last year, a ridiculous sample size.
*He has played the pivot and the wing during his NHL tenure.
For a fourth-line depth signing, niche skills and versatility are two very important qualities to look for. If this signing is a low-cost one (he made $1.6M each of the past two years on a one-way contract, but I would guess he’s taking a pay cut), it would be difficult not to break even. A guy who can do a few things really well and bounce around the line-up is great to have in the bottom six.
There’s also this nugget from Pass it to Bulis:
Mike Santorelli’s linemate in his lone 20-goal season? David Booth.
— Pass it to Bulis (@passittobulis) July 6, 2013
So, there’s that. It probably doesn’t mean anything, but perhaps the team thinks they can rediscover some chemsitry if paired together.
Without Booth, Santorelli has struggled to score consistently – he has just 11 goals in 94 NHL games since that season and was waived by the Panthers in April. It’s a low-risk gamble, a one-year deal according to Harrison Mooney at PitB. Mooney sums up the current crop of forwards pretty well, so I’ll quote him here:
Motivation and opportunity could both play a role as well. No doubt the job market here appealed to Santorelli. The Canucks now have a decent battle going for the third and line centre jobs, with Santorelli, Brad Richardson, Jordan Schroeder, Brendan Gaunce, Bo Horvat, and Kellan Lain all in the running for a gig. No doubt Santorelli and Richardson are the front-runners, but both have to know it’s going to take strong camps to overcome the Canucks’ bias towards their prospects.
In terms of possession stats, it’s tough to get a read on Santorelli given the 27-year old has mostly partial seasons.
|Year||Corsi Rel||Corsi Rel Qoc||Corsi Rel QoT||Zone%|
One thing that jumps out right away is that he’s been pretty sheltered, which isn’t surprising – he’s had favorable zone starts and has only once matched up with an opposition’s top six, on average. But that’s conflicted somewhat by the fact that in 2011-12 and 2012-13, his teammate quality dropped off but he maintained strong relative possession numbers.
That table, especially given it covers just 208 games, is probably more noise than signal. 2010-11, his 20-goal season, saw him post weak possession numbers despite favorable deployment with good teammates, but it was also the only time he faced difficult competition regularly.
It’s pretty tough to get a handle on him through these stats, so let’s hold off judgment until we get some input from someone who has watched more Panthers games than me (or until he suits up in camp).
Regardless, it’s difficult to not like the signing. It’s short-term, assumed to be at a low-cost, and Santorelli does a few things well while providing versatility. Plus, you can put your blinders on and envision a scenario where he rediscovers offensive success.
Slight update, although it’s still speculation:
@drchill49 Haven't heard term yet. One-year, two-way, more than likely under a million.
— Harrison Mooney (@HarrisonMooney) July 6, 2013