Two of the more interesting players to hit the news in the last couple days are Derek Roy and Mike Santorelli. The Buffalo Sabres Roy has one year left on a contract that will pay him five and a half with a cap hit of four. Santorelli of the Florida Panthers is likely a less prohibitive gamble. His salary is one point six this year and like Roy he’s a center.
In his first full year in the NHL Mike Santorelli put up 20 goals and 21 assists good for second in points and third in goals on a not very good Panthers team. That was two seasons ago where he played just over sixteen minutes a night and potted a short handed goal and powerplay goals. He was also above 50% in faceoffs. This year under the new head coach, and with an influx of new players he saw drastically less time. Kevin Dineen did a remarkable job with the talent, and injuries his team had. Between Santorelli’s shoulder injury to start the season, and the new system of Dineen he found himself marginalized and has since been waived.
Derek Roy has been a member of the Buffalo Sabres since he drafted 32nd overall in 2001. He’s only had one NHL head coach in that time. During Lindy Ruff’s tenure, the longest in the NHL, the Sabres have been up, down and largely a low spending team. Terry Pegula taking over the team recently has led to a change in the tableau and not only is the teams attitude toward spending different, expectations are much higher. Roy was not alone in having a sub-standard season, but he seems to be one of the scapegoats for it. During this season Ruff was injured and ended up loaning head coaching duties to one of the assistants. This may or may not have played a role in Roy’s slide to his worst NHL full season point total.
Do we blame the coaches? Did Dineen dismiss a player who had had success the previous season because of an injury? Is not getting the best out of an experienced player a failure on Ruff’s part? Or did Santorelli go have as much trouble learning the new playbook as Ochocinco? Is Roy tuning out Ruff, giving into the teams malaise?
Either way, both players present intriguing options for teams looking for help at center. Roy has a potential claim to a top line in some cities. Santorelli is more likely a second or third line center. Puck possession being a priority, especially for teams like the Flames, Ducks, or Lightning both players offer a chance to make starting play with the puck