Panthers resign C Mike Santorelli for 2 years
According to multiple sources, Florida Panthers center Mike Santorelli has been resigned to a two year deal, salary/cap hit numbers have yet to be released. Santorelli was a restricted free agent and was rumored to possibly go into arbitration after negotiations seemed to come to a standstill. Santorelli had a breakout season last year after being traded from the Nashville Predators for a 4th round pick by scoring 20 goals and picking up 21 assists. Santorelli finished second on the team in points behind Stephen Weiss' 49.
More on Santorelli after the jump.
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Assistant GM Mike Santos has his fingerprints all over the Santorelli acquisition, Santos observed Santorelli during his time in Nashville and was given the opportunity to bring him along to Florida via a low risk-high reward trade. Santorelli only played 32 games with Nashville over two seasons but never seemed to transition his AHL success in Milwaukee to the NHL level. Given the opportunity in Florida, Santorelli climbed through the depth charts to become a 2nd line center.
The biggest knock on Santorelli was his tendency to get into streaks, but honestly, so did every other player on last seasons roster. Santorelli is a solid center good in the faceoff circle and in front of the net, as well as on the powerplay. He will undoubtedly have to fight for his spot as a center with new acquisition Marcel Goc, teammate Jack Skille and possibly Shawn Matthias if he is resigned. With good players around him, Santorelli can undoubtedly improve his game, especially with the stability of a two year contract.