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Canucks waive Sestito

Ryan Kesler

Vancouver Canucks left wing Tom Sestito (29) and Edmonton Oilers left wing Luke Gazdic (20) get into a fight during the third period of NHL hockey action in Vancouver, British Columbia, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)


Vancouver placed Tom Sestito on waivers Friday, the latest in what’s been a frustrating season for the veteran tough guy.

Sestito, 27, has only appeared in three games this year, spending the majority of his time as a healthy scratch under new head coach Willie Desjardins. It’s a significant role reduction from last year when, under John Tortorella, Sestito set career highs in games (77), goals (five) and points (nine) while emerging as the league’s penalty minutes leader and one of its most active enforcers (a NHL-high 19 fights).

This year, though, things have been different.

Desjardins didn’t think Sestito played a fast enough game -- speed, or lack thereof, has been a problem for the entire Canucks team this year -- and Sestito became frustrated with his reduced role to the point where, in mid-December, he sounded off.

“I haven’t been given a chance,” Sestito told The Province. “I haven’t been given a fair shake here yet. It’s his [head coach Willie Desjardins’] team, he’s the coach.

“I’m just going to put my head down and do what I’ve got to do.”

The Canucks reportedly told Sestito they’d try to orchestrate a move to find somewhere for him to play. With no takers, the club has now gone the waiver route, and it’ll be interesting to see if another NHL club is willing to take a flier and pick up the last of his two-year deal worth $1.5 million (a $750,000 cap hit).

If he clears, Sestito would (presumably) be off to AHL Utica. Whatever the case, the veteran enforcer made it pretty clear he knew his future wasn’t in Vancouver.

“It’s a pretty simple game I play,” he said last month. “If they’re not a fan of it, I’ve got to play somewhere else, I guess.”