Just one day after being reminded that waiver claims can and do happen when the club lost Revelstoke native Aaron Volpatti to the Washington Capitals, the Vancouver Canucks have decided to act on their newfound knowledge, claiming winger Tom Sestito from the Philadelphia Flyers.
What sort of player is Sestito? Well, he’s 6’5″, 230 lbs., with 149 penalty minutes in 34 NHL games. He once fought 3 times in a game versus the New York Rangers. In the AHL, he had 867 penalty minutes in 180 games. Sounds like a skill winger.
Or a big guy that punches people. To make room for Sestito, Andrew Ebbett has been met at the airport and told to turn around.
Yes, Sestito is a heavyweight. Here he is dropping the gloves with our very own Zack Kassian, although it’s worth noting that, in that clip, Sestito’s less “big guy that punches people” and more “big guy that gets punched”.
Sestito has some interesting history with the city of Vancouver. He was drafted here in 2006 at 85th overall, two spots after the Canucks selected Christian Ehrhoff trade piece Daniel Rahimi who, to the best of my knowledge, still exists. Sestito played in the 2007 Memorial Cup in Vancouver with the Plymouth Whalers. And his first NHL goal came against Roberto Luongo:
His second NHL goal came against the Canucks as well, with Cory Schneider in goal at the tail end of a 7-3 Canucks blowout over the Columbus Blue Jackets:
So you can see why the Canucks claimed him: to stop him from scoring against them. Sure, the Flyers don’t play the Canucks this year and also Sestito was on his way to Adirondack, who don’t play the Canucks ever, but better safe than sorry.
Okay, so why did the Canucks claim the guy? Were they confused, thinking Tom was actually his brother Tim, a fringe NHL centre in the New Jersey Devils organization? Did David Booth request an outspoken Republican friend? (Speaking of which, Sestito should be happy. He threatened to move to Canada last year because of President Obama’s taxes. Now he gets to! Of course, he’ll be markedly less happy when he discovers he’ll pay more in taxes now that he’s here.) Maybe Alain Vigneault saw Sestito’s city of birth –Rome, New York — and made the claim in a forlorn moment of weakness while sobbing Aaron, oh Aaron, why have you gone?
Maybe Gillis confused Sestito with Dorito and the waiver wire with the vending machine?
Or, and this is the more likely explanation, they thought he could help, and decided to take a Flyer.
We know that Sestito can hurt people, so he brings that quality to the table and should help to quell the folks panicking over the loss of Volpatti. But Alain Vigneault won’t play him if he hurts the Canucks too, either in terms of taking penalties or bleeding chances. What made Aaron Volpatti a valuable enough commodity to get claimed in the first place wasn’t his hits or his willingness to fight — it was those things, in combination with the fact that he wasn’t a liability on the ice. If Sestito can play big and responsible, then the Canucks have effectively used the waiver wire to gain five inches. But if he can’t, expect to see Sestito back on the waiver wire shortly.
This is a bit of a head-scratcher because Sestito has the look of a goon, not a bona fide NHL fourth liner, but this really is a no-risk pickup. Remember when the club claimed Kris Beech in 2007-08? Beech played four games here. Then the Canucks decided he wasn’t working out and they waived him again, no harm, no foul.
Sestito likely won’t have long to make an impact. His spot in the lineup will be gone the moment Steve Pinizzotto completes his conditioning stint (provided he survives it). In effect, he has anywhere from two to four games to prove he can provide toughness without also providing offensive opportunities for the opposition. If he can, the Canucks will consider keeping him around. If he can’t, he’ll get Beeched.