Vancouver loses Santorelli (shoulder surgery) for season

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One of this year’s feel-good stories has come to an abrupt end.

Vancouver forward Mike Santorelli has undergone season-ending shoulder surgery, the Canucks announced on Thursday. The procedure comes with a 5-6 month recovery window and wipes out any chance of Santorelli coming back this year.

Formerly of the Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers, Santorelli, 27, had a unsuccessful stint with Winnipeg last season before the Canucks signed him to a two-way deal in July, with the expectation he was bound for the farm team in Utica.

Turns out expectations were a tad low. Not only did Santorelli — a Vancouver native — make the big club, he proceeded to score 10 goals and 28 points in his first 48 games, all while averaging a career-high 18:34 TOI per game.

During a 3-1 win over Colorado in December, fans at Rogers Arena began chanting Santorelli’s name as he factored in on all three goals, scoring twice while setting up a third.

The injury is a tough blow for the Canucks and Santorelli, as he heads into the offseason facing great uncertainty. He’ll be a UFA coming off major shoulder surgery, hopeful that his half-season cameo with Vancouver will be enough to warrant another shot either with the Canucks, or another NHL club.

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