Another Florida Panther found work overseas on Monday as Mike Santorelli agreed to join Swedish second division club Tingsryds AIF.
Tingsryds plays in the Allsvenskan, the tier below the Swedish Elite League. Because of the controversy surrounding SEL clubs and the signing of locked-out NHLers, many players have opted to play in the lower league, one that is free of transfer issues.
Other NHLers currently suiting up in the Allsvenskan include Anze Kopitar, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikael Backlund, Matt Read, Carl Hagelin, Douglas Murray, Patric Hornqvist and Patrick Berglund.
As mentioned, Santorelli was the second Panther to find work on Monday. Fellow forward Tomas Kopecky signed with Czech Extraliga team Dukla Trencin earlier in the day.
Santorelli, 26, is coming off a tough 2011-12 campaign that saw him fail to build off his highly-successful 2010-11.
After a shoulder issue hampered his start to the year, Santorelli only appeared in 60 games (down from 82 in 2010-11) and saw his production fall across the board: nine goals (down from 20), two assists (down from 21) and 11 points (down from 41).
He also failed to appear in any of Florida’s opening-round playoff loss to New Jersey.
Santorelli is in the final season of a two-year, $3.6 million deal signed with the Panthers in 2011 — he’ll become a restricted free agent upon its expiration.
Of note, he’ll be joining his brother, Mark — a former Nashville Predators farmhand — with Tingsryds.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.