Deja Vu all over again? (Photo Source: Yardbarker.com)

Prospect Or Bust?


Breaking news in Predator Nation! Mike Santorelli was traded to the Florida Panthers for a conditional fifth round pick in the 2011 Entry Draft. Ok, “breaking news” doesn’t always mean super-duper exciting, but at this point in the off-season, we’ll take what we can get. So let’s look a little closer.

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 26: Forward Mike Santorelli #18 of the Nashville Predators skates during a pre-season NHL Hockey game at the Sommet Center on September 26, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

(Photo Source: Yardbarker.com)

Santorelli, a restricted free agent, put up pretty good numbers in the few years he spent in Milwaukee.

Santorelli in Milwaukee

Season GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
2007-2008 80 21 21 42 2 204 60
2008-2009 70 27 43 70 -1 189 36
2009-2010 57 26 33 59 17 186 20

If those were NHL numbers, he might have shaken things up on our top line. The Predators can be a goal-starved team from time to time, and numbers like these probably would have won us a few games.

Here are Santorelli’s stats as a Nashville Predator.

Santorelli in Nashville

Season GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
2008-2009 7 0 0 0 -5 11 2
2009-2010 25 2 1 3 -8 36 8

As well as Santorelli played for the Ads, for some reason, he just couldn’t duplicate his success with the big club. 32 games with 3 points, and a -13 rating…For someone who looked so promising at the AHL level, seeing Santorelli fail made me cry a little on the inside.

Amanda, very wisely, suggested to me that the Santorelli situation reminded her of the Rich Peverley saga from a few years ago. Yep, I definitely see some interesting parallels. So, what did Rich Peverley do for us at the AHL and NHL levels?

Peverley in Milwaukee

Season GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
2005-2006 65 12 34 46 2 * 44
2006-2007 66 30 38 68 9 213 62
2007-2008 45 14 40 54 3 * 50

* = no SOG data

Peverley in Nashville

Season GP G A PTS +/- SOG PIM
2006-2007 13 0 1 1 -1 9 0
2007-2008 33 5 5 10 4 43 8
2008-2009 27 2 7 9 -3 42 15

Sure enough, Peverley was a top notch prospect at one point in his career. I can remember being super pumped that Peverley and Radulov were both in our system near the same time. I thought for sure they’d both earn a roster spot and immediately start making a huge difference on the attack. At the time, I was even ok with us clearing room for him on our roster via trades if it meant our offense would produce more goals.

Rich Peverley was put on waivers by the Predators and claimed by Atlanta during the 2008-2009 season. Sadly, there must have been a little more chemistry working for him in Atlanta, because Peverley started playing like the player we thought we had all along. So far, Rich has played pretty well for the Thrashers, but the concensus is he needs to be a little more consitent to cement his status as a true NHL caliber talent. Because creating a stat table for Peverley’s time in Atlanta would hurt my heart a little (actually i’m too lazy to do it right now after my day at the rock pile), I’ll just give you the highlights. Rich Peverley, in 121 games with the Thrashers, has scored 35 goals, and accumulated a total of 90 points.

Was letting Peverley go a good move or a bad move? I definitely think we should have given him a little more time to develop. He was sent to Atlanta in the middle of the season. It was not an end of the year, restricted free agent situation like Santorelli’s…not nearly as urgent of a matter, in my humble opinion. Peverley definitely had talent buried deep down inside of him. It’s possible he just needed a little more time to feel truly comfortable at the NHL level. On the other hand, some players just don’t work with certain teams for whatever reason. Maybe Toots stole his lunch money and made him feel unwelcome, result: suckiness. Nevertheless, Rich Peverly has been a fair success in Atlanta thus far, but he may have never amounted to anything in our system.

Back to Santorelli. I think trading Santorelli was an acceptable move. He obviously belongs playing on a line as a centerman, a position we look acceptable at right now. Santorelli is an RFA, and negotiating with a player whom you aren’t sure will pan out can sometimes be a risky venture. Besides, if the Predators decided to send him to Milwaukee he would have had to clear waivers first. Getting a conditional 5th rounder for Santorelli, at this point of his unproven career, is better than us waiving him and getting nothing for him should another team show interest. Plus, Poile and friends have a proven track record of working magic in the Entry Draft. The additional pick should give them an extra shot to find another young talent…And again, something, even if it is a conditional 5th rounder, is better than nothing.

Mike Santorelli could be a huge success in Florida, who knows. Actually, I’ll go out on a limb and say he’ll be pretty successful. He’ll probably see NHL minutes soon, since the Panther’s roster could use a little help. If he continues to disappoint, I think he’ll still be accepted in Florida. They aren’t used to a lot of success down there anyway…ouch.

I’ll hate myself in 2 years when Santorelli is a top line NHL center. Actually, I think I’m starting to have doubts about it right now. Leave us a comment and let us know what you think.

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Tags: Mike Santorelli Nashville Predators NHL RIch Peverly

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  • Frank Rekas(TheRatTrick.com)

    Nathan: As a Panther fan….follower, I must admit that the Santorelli deal is another depth move by the organEYEzation. Yes he may battle for a spot on the fourth line, but mostly he’ll see his duty in Rochester of the AHL.
    He’s done well in the AHL, but not very well in the NHL.
    I hope I’m wrong, but if all he cost was a condidtional 5th round pick, I’m skeptical of his potential.

    Hope I’m wrong!

    • http://www.predlines.com Nathan T. Harper

      Ahhh Frank: I figured we might meet up on this one. Do you see room on your roster to give him a shot at trying to play wing? It didn’t turn out that great here, but it might with a change of scenery. Sorry about the low blow at the end of the blog. I tried to stop my hands from typing it, but I was unsuccessful.

      • Frank Rekas(TheRatTrick.com)

        Nathan: Don’t worry about the low blow. It’s true. Does he have a chance? I don’t think so. It’s a depth signing and while he may have done well in the AHL, we know that doesn’t always translate to the NHL. However the difference between the Panthers and the AHL is almost nill, so he might have a slim chance! :)

  • Greg

    Santorelli has seven centers ahead of him here in nashville. His only success at the nhl level was being 3 for 3 in shootouts. I’m ok with move

  • predswilrule

    im ok as well. he wasnt going anywhere here so get something and move on. o’reilly may not be far behind