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Maple Leafs sign free agent centre Mike Santorelli

Vancouver Canucks centre Mike Santorelli (25) celebrates his goal with Darren Archibald (49) during the third period of NHL action against the St. Louis Blues in Vancouver, B.C. Friday, Jan. 10, 2014.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Add Mike Santorelli to the pile of centres vying for ice time on the Toronto Maple Leafs next season.

Leafs GM Dave Nonis made a bargain buy of the former Vancouver Canucks centre on Thursday, giving the 28-year-old a one-year, $1.5-million deal. Santorelli had a breakthrough season in Vancouver after making the team out of camp, posting 28 points in 49 games before a season-ending shoulder injury.

He also had a 20-goal, 41-point season with the Panthers earlier in his career but ran into injury problems that have plagued his career.

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Santorelli will now compete with Peter Holland and Petri Kontiola as depth down the middle.

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