How easy is it to give up on a player anywhere from 21-26 years old? Pretty damn easy. From a fantasy standpoint, if someone doesn’t produce quickly enough, they’re not welcome on your roster. And once you cut a guy like that, the breakup is for real. You don’t ever want him again. At least that’s how most of us think.
Two years ago the kind folks at Dobberhockey.com were prepping for their infamous Guide release and one name that kept popping up was Mike Santorelli of the Nashville Predators. Santorelli, whose brother Mark was and still is also a Nashville product, had a pretty solid collegiate career at Northern Michigan University, posting 110 points in 121 total games (3 years). He then followed that up with 21 goals and 21 assists in his rookie AHL campaign and right around this time was generating a decent amount of buzz. Many thought he’d make the Predators, which he didn’t, but he did put together one hell of a season in the A. In 70 games played, he posted 70 points. Finishing one point behind him was Mr. Cal O’Reilly. Eventually, he’d wear out his welcome on most people’s fantasy rosters and if you were an owner, his trade value was basically nothing.
In 2009-10, everyone is just waiting for Santorelli to do some magic at the NHL level. He makes the team out of camp and quickly disappoints, scoring only three points in 25 games. Now here’s the thing about Santorelli. He can play all three forward positions, but he’s best used at center. Nashville was an organization that had a lot of players who were familiar with playing center and they were hoping they could use Santorelli on the wing. They tried him out for the majority of the season on the wing with Legwand and Erat. Then they lined him up with Erat and Hornqvist. They tried Smithson and Ward. Take a look at all the different lines he was used in that year. Pretty shocking for only playing 25 games right? Things just weren’t working and Mike Santorelli found himself frustrated and back in the American League.
At this point, there’s a very fine line between becoming a career AHLer (see Brett Sterling) and adjusting to the game pace of the NHL. In his time back in Milwaukee, Mike showed he has mastered the AHL game, scoring 59 points in 57 games to lead the team in scoring. With his contract e