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Mike Santorelli Signs Two-year Deal with Florida Panthers, Never Thought About Arbitration ... "I'm Grateful"

Santo Mike Santorelli is officially back on the Panthers payroll as the restricted free agent signed a two-year deal with the team.

Santorelli's contract is a one-way deal, a nice upgrade from last season. Santorelli came to the Panthers in a trade with the Predators. He had a two-way deal and was thought to be headed to Rochester.

Santorelli instead won a roster spot and was one of the few bright spots on the Panthers last year. Santorelli played in all 82 games -- he had played in a combined 32with the Preds over two seasons -- and scored 20 goals. He came into the season with two NHL goals.

“I think the mindset last year was to impress, concentrate on what I did best,'' Santorelli said from his offseason home in Vancouver. “The goal was to make the team. Every player wants to make the team. I always want to get better, improve on my assets and my defaults. I just want to get better every day, keep going.''

Santorelli is one of the few holdovers from the 2010-11 Panthers, a team that finished in last place in the Eastern Conference for the first time in franchise history. One of the few bright spots last season, Santorelli watched the Panthers free agent shopping spree play out this past weekend. Since the NHL draft, the Panthers have added 10 players who should be on the opening night roster.

“Florida is a great spot,'' Santorelli said. “I'm excited to come back. I knew it would get done, very happy it did. .-.-. The team looks great with all the additions. All the players are high class in this league. I'm excited about being a part of it. All the players we got are high-skilled, great hockey players. I'm looking forward to learning from them.''


Florida Panthers Executive Vice President & General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the club has re-signed C Mike Santorelli to a two-year contract.

“We are very pleased to have re-signed Mike,” said Tallon. “He is a hard working and dedicated player who made our team out of training camp and went on to post career bests in goals and assists last season. We look forward to his continued contributions to our club.”

Santorelli, 25, has played in 114 National Hockey League games with Nashville (2008-10) and Florida (2010-11) scoring 22 goals with 22 assists and 30 PIM. The 6-foot, 190-pound forward posted career highs in goals (20), assists (21) and points (41) in his first season with Florida.

Santorelli was acquired in a trade with Nashville on August 5, 2010.

The Vancouver, BC native was drafted by Nashville in the sixth round (178th overall) in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.