Mike Santorelli Photo Source: Zimbio.com

Panther's Roster: Mike Santorelli

Mike Santorelli Photo Source: Zimbio.com

The Trade Deadline is February 28th at 3PM EST. What we’re doing everyday until then is do an honest roster break down of the current roster for the month of February. Today, we look at Mike Santorelli.

Santorelli was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft in the sixth round (178 overall). The Vancouver, BC native then attended Northern Michigan University. After that, he signed an entry level contract with the Preds in July 2007.  He primarily played for Milwaukee of the American Hockey League (where he played with his brother, Mark) although, he did appear in 32 games with the big club over the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons.

Santorelli’s fortunes changed when Mike Santos was named assistant GM of the Florida Panthers on July 1, 2010. One month later, the Cats traded with Nashville to bring the center to Sunrise for a fifth round pick. After a strong preseason, Santorelli made the final roster and has continued to raise eyebrows since. Currently, he is tied for the team lead in goals with 15 (to go with 14 assists). His speed, his ability to make plays around  the net and his shootout skills have made him a fan favorite. While he is not exactly a great defensive center now, his speed and tenacity indicate that it is something he can improve on.

Currently, Santorelli is on a one year/$600,000 contract that runs out in July and will leave him as a restricted free agent. Based on his production this season, he is well deserving of a raise, which he will definitely get. The market for him in a trade is tough to read, should the Panthers fall out of contention. While he is a having a surprising season, it’s tough to say if GM’s would be more comfortable looking for a more experienced player. Personally, I think he’s a guy the team might want to keep around a little while longer to see if he can develop further which, at age 25, is a bit of a question mark.

What say you on Mike Santorelli?

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Tags: Florida Panthers Mike Santorelli Mike Santos Nashville Predators

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