MONTREAL -- It hardly qualifies as a trade-deadline blockbuster, but the Winnipeg Jets have made a move to bolster their lineup.
The Jets have picked up Mike Santorelli off waivers from the Florida Panthers, most likely to replace Nik Antropov after he was injured in Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the New York Islanders. The Jets confirmed today that Antropov will be out for two weeks – a good chunk of what is left of the regular season – with a ‘lower-body’ injury.
A 27-year-old centre from Vancouver, Santorelli has two goals and one assist in 24 games this year with the Panthers and was on the ice when he was informed by Panthers management he was switching jerseys. He will be en route to Montreal tonight and is expected to be in the lineup tomorrow when the Jets wrap up their three-game road trip against the Canadiens.
"I’m super-excited," said Santorelli in a phone interview. "The Jets have a great team and it’s that time of the year when you’re right in the mix of things and I’m looking forward to coming there as much as I can. Each game is so meaningful and that’s exciting."
He was originally drafted by the Nashville Predators in the 6th round of the 2004 NHL entry draft and has appeared in 198 NHL with the Preds and Panthers. Santorelli also has a connection with Jets captain Andrew Ladd, having played Junior B with him with the Port Coquitlam Buckaroos.
In his best NHL season, 2010-11, he had 20 goals and 21 assists.
"I like to play a high-tempo speed game and get pucks to the net," said Santorelli. "I think a change of scenery can be good for players. I’ll come there and work hard and try to bring it every night."