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.