Florida Panthers Facebook Florida Panthers Twitter Florida Panthers Google+ Florida Panthers Pintrest Florida Panthers Instagram Florida Panthers
 
Features
 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

Santorelli Excited About Second Full Season

Friday, 08.19.2011 / 5:49 PM ET / Features
NHL.com
X
Share with your Friends


Santorelli Excited About Second Full Season
Florida Panthers' Mike Santorelli (13) scores against Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere (35) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Sunrise, Fla., Thursday, March 17, 2011. (AP Photo)
By Brian Compton - NHL.com Staff Writer

Mike Santorelli is enjoying the most relaxing summer he's had in years.

No longer will he be entering a training camp having to fight for a roster spot. No longer does he have to worry about those long bus rides in the American Hockey League.

Thanks to a breakout season in 2010-11, Santorelli -- who had spent the majority of the previous three campaigns in the AHL -- has found a home with the Florida Panthers.

Eleven months after being acquired from the Nashville Predators for just a fifth-round draft pick, Santorelli was signed to a two-year contract that reportedly will pay him $1.6 million annually. Not bad for a guy who had just 32 games of NHL experience before exploding onto the scene last season in Florida.

"It feels good," said Santorelli, who appeared in all 82 games for the Panthers last season and had 20 goals and 21 assists. "But at the same time, there's another level I want to take it to. I think that was the mindset going into the summer -- just to keep getting and better and keep improving and try to hit that next step in my career."

Nashville's sixth-round pick (No. 178) in the 2004 Entry Draft, Santorelli spent three years at Northern Michigan University before turning pro in 2007. In his first season in the AHL, he had 21 goals and 21 assists in 80 games with the Milwaukee Admirals. The following season, he went 27-43-70 in 70 contests. It was during that 2008-09 campaign when he fulfilled a lifelong dream, as he skated in seven games for the Predators.

But Santorelli spent the majority of the 2009-10 season back in the AHL, where he continued to dominate -- in 57 games with Milwaukee, he tallied 26 goals and 33 assists. However, he mustered only a pair of goals and an assist in 25 NHL games for Nashville.

Unsure of what the future held in store, Santorelli received a phone call on Aug. 5, 2010 -- a day that ultimately changed his life. He was told he had been traded to Florida in exchange for a conditional fifth-round draft pick.

"That was a pretty big day," Santorelli recalled. "I was really excited to be a part of the Panthers and to help them move forward."

Santorelli made the Panthers out of training camp and flourished in his first full NHL season. He appeared in all 82 games and finished second on the club with 41 points. Truth be told, Santorelli was simply one of those players who needed a legitimate opportunity to prove himself.
 
"I was so grateful for the opportunity the Florida staff gave me," Santorelli told NHL.com. "I think that was a big part of it. I was able to play with some really good players. At the same time, I just learned so much from everybody there -- not only the players, but the staff and management. It felt really good early."

Santorelli is eager to build off the success he achieved last season, and he'll have the opportunity to do so with plenty of fresh faces. Florida GM Dale Tallon went on a spending spree this summer, bringing in the likes of Brian Campbell, Sean Bergenheim, Matt Bradley, Tomas Fleischmann, Tomas Kopecky, Scottie Upshall, Kris Versteeg and Ed Jovanovski. The team also has a new coach, as Peter DeBoer was replaced by Kevin Dineen.

"It's very exciting," Santorelli said of the revamped roster and coached staff. "Just talking to a lot of the guys, everyone is so excited. The additions are such great players. I look forward to playing with them and being teammates with those guys. I think it's an exciting time for us as a team. I think the team's going to be a lot better this year. I'm just excited to get going now. I can't wait to get down there."

Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 50 37 9 4 161 110 78
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 146 132 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NJD 53 26 20 7 117 118 59
7 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
8 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 117 128 55
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Jagr 48 16 21 12 37
J. Huberdeau 51 10 27 11 37
A. Barkov 41 15 19 13 34
J. Jokinen 51 9 24 12 33
V. Trocheck 51 17 15 4 32
R. Smith 51 16 15 12 31
B. Pirri 47 10 13 -4 23
A. Ekblad 47 10 12 23 22
B. Campbell 51 4 15 17 19
N. Bjugstad 36 9 8 -3 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
R. Luongo 23 13 4 .930 2.11
A. Montoya 8 2 1 .931 1.93

 
FloridaPanthers.com is the official Web site of the Florida Panthers. Florida Panthers and floridapanthers.com are trademarks of the Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks and NHL Draft name and logo are trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2016 Florida Panthers Hockey Club, Ltd and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.