by Lindsay Kramer || NHL.com
Playing with your brother at a high level of hockey is a chance that comes along once in a lifetime, if it all.
Two years ago, Mark Santorelli (right) had that chance in his hand and tossed it away. He was set to join his older brother, Mike, at Northern Michigan University, but at the last second veered off to play for Chilliwack of the WHL.
"It would have been neat to play with him, but I never though it (the opportunity) would come again twice," Mark said.
It very well could, courtesy of the Predators. Nashville drafted Mark, 20, in the fourth round of the 2007 Entry Draft, which puts him in position to play in Milwaukee. There, he could possibly skate on a line with Mike, 22, who as a rookie posted 21 goals and 21 assists for the Admirals last year.
They’ve never played on the same team before, but it would seem a natural fit. Mark is a left wing, Mike is a center.
"He’s pretty smart on the ice. He passes, he makes good plays. I think we could both complement each other," is Mike’s scouting report.
"I think it would be kind of cool," Mark said. "I like to pass the puck and Mike likes to shoot.
Mark produced the types of numbers with Chilliwack that suggest he could be as immediate a success as his brother was. Last year, he came up with 27 goals and 74 assists in 72 games. During the summer, working out with his brother in their hometown of Vancouver, Mark made sure to tap into his ready-made AHL resource.
"He told me the biggest thing he found (as a rookie) was how much stronger guys are in the pros," Mark said. "You’re not playing against boys anymore. That’s one thing he made me get used to right away. This summer, I had to get a lot stronger. He’s a very hard worker. I try to keep up with him."
Mike’s early review is that his younger brother was paying attention.
"He realized it’s a lot tougher," said Mike (left), a sixth-round pick by Nashville in 2004. "He’s a pro now, you work out as a pro now. If he works hard, hopefully he gets rewarded."
Regardless of the line combinations, the one obvious pairing will come off the ice. Mike and Mark, for so long separated during the hockey season, plan on being roommates. And acting like them too, instead of like former sibling rivals.
"Ah, no, I’ve lived with him this long," Mike said of the possibility of getting on each other’s nerves.
"We get along really well, compared to most brothers," Mark said. "We don’t fight too much. Sometimes we get sick of each other, but most of the time it’s good."
Lindsay Kramer, the AHL correspondent for NHL.com, profiles an up-and-coming player each Monday during the season, and his AHL notebook appears each Thursday on NHL.com.