Vancouver Canucks Free Agency: Top 7 Centers to Target

Jan 5, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 5, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning center Steven Stamkos (91) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit
Prev
3 of 9
Next
vancouver canucks
Feb 15, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Anaheim Ducks center Mike Santorelli (25) skates during the warmup period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Anaheim Ducks won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports /

No.7: Mike Santorelli

After a short stint with the Vancouver Canucks that unfortunately (or fortunately, whichever way you may choose to look at it) coincided with that of coach John Tortorella, Mike Santorelli proved once again an inexpensive bottom-six player this year with the Anaheim Ducks as he did with the Canucks.

With the Ducks looking to bring back pending free agents like David Perron, Jamie McGinn, Rickard Rakell, and Brandon Pirri, a forward like Santorelli may not be able to find himself a roster spot. More importantly, the Ducks need to secure their RFA defensemen — Sami Vatanen, and Hampus Lindholm. Big assets there.

Height / Weight: 6-foot-0, 189 lbs
Age: 30
2015-16 Stats: 70 GP — 9 Goals — 9 Assists — 18 Points
2015-16 Salary: $0.875 million
Expected UFA Salary: $0.900 million

What Santorelli would bring to the Canucks is one of the hardest in-game work ethics the city has ever known coupled with a tremendous hunger for the puck that allows him to play all three forward positions as needed. His best offensive asset is in his skating which is quick and fluid.

Santorelli is not the seventh-best center available at free agency. He likely sits outside the top-ten. He is going to be on the wrong side of 30 this December and he has not impressed ever since he left the Canucks organization two years ago. He, however, sits at number seven for how financially friendly he will be. His versatility should also allow the Canucks to have him sub in and out for a young forward like Alex Grenier or Brendan Gaunce.

His best days were in Florida five years ago. But look at the season stats and you will see that Santorelli thrived when he got big minutes with the Florida Panthers, the Vancouver Canucks, and the Toronto Maple Leafs. Not so much in Anaheim.

So if Willie Desjardins sticks to his four-line system that saw Linden Vey and Emerson Etem defend a one-goal lead with three minutes left in the game, Santorelli may thrive in Vancouver.

After all, he is a Vancouver boy, is he not?

Proposed Line
D. Dorsett – M. Santorelli – E. Etem
B. Gaunce – M. Santorelli – D. Dorsett/E. Etem

A checking line consisting of three of Dorsett, Etem, Gaunce, and Santorelli would be a delight as the fourth line. While Santorelli will not throw the biggest hits, he is sure to create some timely offense for his wingers. Gaunce and Etem both have the speed that could compliment Santorelli’s.

A one or two-year deal at just under a million is likely for Santorelli, and he will surely provide exemplary work ethic worth much more than just a million dollars — something that would be great for the group of young prospects coming up the Canucks system.

Next: No.6: SHAWN MATTHIAS