Canucks re-sign heavyweight Tom Sestito to one-way, two-year deal
‘Vancouver is a great organization with great fans and they treat you well’
VANCOUVER — The Vancouver Canucks have locked up heavyweight fourth-liner Tom Sestito for the next two seasons as they continue to “reset” their team for the 2013-14 NHL season.
Sestito. 25, received a two-year, one-way deal worth $1.5 million. His cap charge is $750,000. He made $605,000 in 2012-13 and stood to become a Group 6 unrestricted free agent on July 5.
Sestito announced the signing himself on his Twitter account.
“Once I got my end signed and they got their end signed and it was official, I just went out and did it,” Sestito chuckled over the phone from his home in Rome, N.Y.
Listed at 6-5 and 228 pounds, Sestito arrived in Vancouver mid-season on waivers from Philadelphia and played his first game March 2 against the L.A. Kings. He appeared in 23 regular-season outings for the Canucks, scored once, had 11 shots on goal and collected 53 penalty minutes while averaging just 6:37 time on ice.
His fight card included the Kings' Jordan Nolan, the Flames' Brian McGrattan (twice), the Wild's Mike Rupp and the Blues' Ryan Reaves.
“Players like Tom Sestito are a commodity, they really are,” said Canucks assistant GM Laurence Gilman, who negotiates the team's contracts. “He has size, he's prepared to play a physical games and has some aptitude with the puck. We were pleasantly surprised with him.”
Because he is limited in his skating ability, Sestito has never had a full-time gig in the NHL. He once scored 42 goals in junior with the OHL's Plymouth Whalers but hasn't been able to achieve anything close to that in the professional ranks. In six seasons since leaving junior, he's played in just 57 NHL games, 13 with Columbus and 21 with the Flyers. He has five career goals.
Security was an issue with Sestito in his contract talks with the Canucks.
“I wanted to have a two-year deal and I definitely wanted the one-way,” he said. “Being a UFA, I imagine I would been able to get a one-way somewhere but I definitely wanted to be in Vancouver again. I expressed that in my exit meeting and they said they wanted me back, too, so I thought it was going to get done pretty quickly.
“Vancouver is a great organization with great fans and they treat you well. The leadership group in that locker room is second to none. So I didn't want to go anywhere else. I honestly don't think I could have matched that up in another place.”
Sestito did admit he was a little apprehensive that the Canucks are without a head coach after the firing of Alain Vigneault last week. Like every other player, he'll now have to gain the trust of the new man.
“The coaching situation is always a concern but the organization is pretty sure what I'm going to bring and I think the coach, whoever it is, will appreciate what I bring,” he said.
Sestito's agent, Scott Norton, agreed that not knowing who will coach the Canucks could be a bit risky for his client but noted that management's desire to have him back was paramount.
“There is always a gamble in not knowing who the coach is and there are certain coaches, I guess, who appreciate Tom's style of play more than others,” Norton said. “Tom was faced with the option of going to UFA this summer but he loved his time with Vancouver. The talks went pretty smoothly, They seemed happy with what he brought to the table and I think they've publicly said they probably need a little bit more size and grit in their lineup.”
With the Sestito signing, the Canucks still have 11 players from the season-ending roster who stand to become free agents on July 5. The UFAs are Mason Raymond, Andrew Alberts, Max Lapierre, Derek Roy, Manny Malhotra, Andrew Ebbett, Cam Barker and Steve Pinizzotto while those in the restricted category are Chris Tanev, Dale Weise and Jordan Schroeder.
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