“The Great Santorelli”: Why His Recent Productivity is No Surprise to Me

van2Mike Santorelli has been the talk of the town over the last couple of weeks, as he has become a legitimate source of secondary scoring for the Canucks. Sports talk hosts wonder aloud how a guy who, during training camp, wasn’t even assured a roster spot with the Canucks  is managing to produce at a point-a-game rate. It seems no one saw this coming. . .

. . .no one, that is, except for me. I remember thinking, back when Gillis got Santorelli’s signature on a contract, that it was great for the Canucks to get a forward like him to help up front. How could I have had so much confidence in a player who is a virtual unknown? The answer is simple: “I’m a poolster.”

As a poolster, I am continually scanning the waiver wire for players who are starting to heat up, thus becoming candidates for being picked up to take advantage of a hot streak. And Mike Santorelli is a player who found his way onto my roster as a result of just such a streak back in 2010-2011. He had started his career quietly–putting up a mere 2 goals and 1 assist in 32 games over two partial seasons with Nashville–before moving to the Panthers for the 2010-2011 season. As a regular on the Panthers’ roster, he managed 14 points in the 33 games leading up to Christmas. But he came out of the Christmas break on fire, being kept off the score sheet in only one of the next 12 games.

The streak lasted until January 19, after which Santorelli only got 16 points in the remaining 37 games of the season. And he sunk into total obscurity during the next three seasons–15 points in 94 games. But his post-Christmas exploits of 2010-2011 have stuck in my mind through these intervening years, explaining why I was excited to hear Gillis had signed this guy who no one else had ever heard of. I knew he had the potential of supplying much needed secondary scoring for the Canucks. All it took to prove me right was Torts finally getting around to pairing him with a linemate the caliber of Ryan Kesler.

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