The New Jersey Devils added to their defensive core for the new season ahead when they re-signed blueliner Steven Santini on a new three-year deal. He had been a restricted free agent prior to inking his new deal, and leaves the Devils with one RFA left to deal with.
Santini, 23, was taken in the second round of the 2013 NHL draft by the Devils with the 42nd selection at the conclusion of a season where he appeared for the US National Under 18 team. The following three seasons saw the Mahopac, NY, native spend it at Boston College; a place that also seen the grounding of fellow Devils team-mates Brian Boyle and Cory Schneider.
The defenceman inked his initial three year entry deal towards the conclusion of the 2015-16 season and made his first appearance in the NHL in the final game of that particular campaign against the Toronto Maple Leafs; a match which the Devils recovered from a 1-0 deficit to defeat the visiting Leafs 5-1.
In the last two seasons, Santini has racked up a further 74 appearances whilst also splitting time with the Devils AHL affiliate side, Albany and more recently in Binghamton. With players such as Sami Vatanen, Andy Greene and the impressive Will Butcher ahead of him: Santini will no doubt stay on the fringes of the NHL roster and start the new campaign in Binghamton. However, the 23 year old, will still have time on his side and be ready to step into the breach should John Hynes feel the need to call on his services.
He’s still young and learning his trade, and if he continues to impress then there’s no doubt he can make the grade as a NHL regular in years to come whether that be as a Devil or elsewhere. One to watch out for the future.
Main photo provided courtesy of thehockeywriters.com