In the offseason Mike Gillis made only a few moves for the organization. In doing so, the future of the Canucks’ season looked bleak before it even got underway. By the end of training camp, one player stood out in my eye and that was Mike Santorelli. There was something about him, the way he moved on the ice and the way he worked, it was something special. He reminded me of Alex Burrows when he came out of his shell when he first started playing with the Sedins. Santo came into training camp somewhat of a nobody and came out of a whole new player.He finished first in the two mile run edging out both Daniel and Henrik which was considered an upset. He worked hard all camp to earn a roster spot, and in the end it was clear why he made the team.
Santorelli plays hard on his skates during games and works even harder in puck battles. For example, earlier in the season against Calgary, he beat out three Flames players and won the battle by himself along the boards. That’s something the Canucks have had problems doing during games in the past. He’s not overwhelmingly fast on his feet though like Jannik Hansen or a Mason Raymond, but he’ll still find ways to maneuver to the puck before others. Santorelli is also good in the faceoff circle, and can win faceoff’s cleanly 80% of the time, something the Canucks need in their bottom 6. The downside however is that he’s not so much of a defensive player; he’s not a “Torts” guy you could say. The upside of course is that he’s more offensive, and can be clutch at times when you need him the most; he’s a game changer. Santorelli makes great passes to set up plays that turn into goals.
Although I might be opening my mouth a little too early, the Canucks need to get a contract extension on this guy and do it ASAP. He’s a great depth forward who should help the Canucks in the playoffs and provide secondary scoring, something the Canucks definitely need lots of in the playoffs and during the season as well. He could be the Canucks’ third line centre next year but I’d rather put money on players like Bo Horvat or Brendan Gaunce to take the reins of that role. Santo would still make a great winger nonetheless and he can play any forward position with success. Something else to mention is he’s currently tied for third in scoring on the team with 26 points (8-18).
The Canucks need to re-sign Mike Santorelli to a contract extension and do it fast before his value rises anymore. He can easily be a great bargain at a cheap price if they can get him under contract for an extra year or two.