NHL free agency 2013: Canucks sign Mike Santorelli

USA TODAY Sports

The Canucks needed a center and they found one in Mike Santorelli.

The Vancouver Canucks signed Mike Santorelli, helping strengthen a center corps. that needed it after Maxim Lapierre signed with the St. Louis Blues. The move is a homecoming for Santorelli, who is a British Columbia native.

Santorelli scored two goals and added two assists in 2013, which he spent with the Florida Panthers and Winnipeg Jets. The 27-year-old was outstanding in 2010-11, when he found the net 20 times for the Panthers, but he hasn't tallied double digit goals in any other season of his five-year career.

The departure of Lapierre left the Canucks short one center. Now they have Santorelli to fill that hole and he should easily slot onto Vancouver's fourth line. The Canucks could hope that he finds his 2010-11 form again and can be a top six forward, but that is more wishful, especially when he can be a fourth line player and they treat any offensive contribution as a bonus.

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