Santorelli: to sign or not to sign - the answer will surprise you

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Mike Santorelli is the best bargain in the NHL according to CapGeek.com.

It makes sense. He has played every forward position on every line, he’s good at faceoffs, he kills penalties and plays on the power play and he’s put up 27 points halfway through the season. Word is he sings lullabies to Zack Kassian to help him sleep on long flights too – yes, he’s that versatile.

For all this and for being the Canucks most valuable new addition, he’s getting the league minimum salary of $550,000.

Hopefully he doesn’t get any ideas from another underpaid Vancouver athlete and put on a jersey in the Mexican Hockey League as a bargaining ploy.

So it makes sense that fans and media are wondering if and when the Canucks are going to re-sign him.

CBC‘s Elliotte Friedman raised the issue in his 30 Thoughts this week. The answer he got: no talks yet.

Yesterday in The Province‘s Canucks chat, beat writer Jason Botchford deflated the hopes:

Canucks have zero interest in re-signing Santorelli

Surprised by this, I replied: Botch, you trolling us with the Santo thing? Surely the Canucks want to re-sign him?

I’ve written about this before. 1. The Canucks believe Santorelli is motivated by trying to earn a contract and they don’t want to guck with that. 2. They want to see him do it for a full year and, most imp, in the playoffs against the big dogs

He did write about this on December 20. I missed it while in holiday mode.

In the article, Botchford explains Canucks management’s thinking on the situation:

If part of Santorelli’s motivation is the fact he’s trying to earn his next contract, why would the Canucks want to take it away?

More accurately, the Canucks can’t afford to take that away.

Botchford added yesterday:

If Santorelli gets 50 pts he’ll get $3m. Canucks understand this.

The team might be right. Santorelli worked his ass off in the off-season for another shot at the NHL and maybe the motivation of bagging a contract is what’s keeping him going.

Or maybe Canucks management wants to have room to sign a big free agent during the summer, or to allow some of their younger players to have a chance to move up.

Tough call, obviously.

He looks like the real deal to me, and like Botch said, if he reaches 50 points, which looks likely, he’ll fetch $3 million on the market. If the Canucks act now they could get him for less than $2M for a few years.

What do you think? Re-sign Santorelli now, or wait?

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Omar A has worked for 24 hours, the Canadian Press and TSN. He graduated from the Journalism program at the University of King's College
@omarcanuck

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