Steven Santini

Darren Walker

Santini is an old-school, defensive defender whose priority is his own zone above all else. He is a good skater who generates healthy speed but lacks burst in his skating. His stride is powerful and fluid but turns condensed and choppy when he really digs in. He plays with a healthy amount of sandpaper — he will bury an opponent if he gets the chance, but won’t take himself out of position just to blow someone up. He is gritty, physical and not afraid to drop the mitts if needed and uses his body and strength to separate the puck and clear zones. He forces the puck carrier to the outside and whacks and hacks with little slashes and cross-checks to the legs and hips if they wonder into his area. Santini also shows solid gap control and defensive awareness but can get caught chasing the puck at times. Offensively, he sees the ice well and makes strong passes but is not overly creative and likely will not run a power-play. He has decent hands that allow him to control the puck and start a breakout. A heavy shot from the point, good touch on his passes, very good poise under pressure are also in his arsenal. His head is constantly on a swivel with the puck on his stick. Never throws the puck away or forces it into traffic (May 2013).